These Are The Women Execs Revolutionizing Television Right Now

In 2018, television promised its future was female. But we’re past that. The future is now, and women are leading the way. 

We’re all aware of how many women are fronting series (from Jennifer Anniston and Reese Witherspoon to Zendaya). We’re even told about the ones writing and directing our best television (thank you Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Jennifer Morrison). But what about the people who approved these shows in the first place? What about the TV executives and office-bound decision makers we never see? 


Women are currently calling the shots in countless Hollywood boardrooms and national news desks as well. It’s time we celebrate all their hard work. These are the women execs changing the game and keeping your favorite shows on the air, year in and year out.

Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.

Channing Dungey

Title: VP of Original Content, Netflix

Career highlights: Channing Dungey was the network president of ABC, where she famously canceled Roseanne after its titular star shared racist tweets with the world. 

In December 2018, it was confirmed Dungey left the broadcaster to join the streaming wars at Netflix. There, she will be overseeing the digital giant’s star-studded portfolio of producers and creators, including Shonda Rhimes, Jenji Kohan, and the Obamas.  

Why she’s a game-changer: Dungey is living proof that when Black women are given a seat at the table they won’t just add to the conversation — they can lead it.
Photo: Courtesy of Disney/ABC.

Karey Burke

Title: ABC Entertainment president

Career highlights: Sometimes, the best candidate for the job is already right in front of you. Burke was previously the head of original programming at Disney’s Gen-Z-obsessed cable network, Freeform

Why she’s a game-changer: There’s often a fear there can only be one woman in a position of power. And, if anything goes awry with that woman (like she leaves your company for the new, sexy competitor after a few years) no other woman will have a chance to sit in her seat for generations. 

ABC’s choice to promote Burke after losing Channing Dungey to Netflix proves we may finally be moving past that threat. Now, Burke is determined to do what ABC does best: Invest in the women in its audience and find a “big, provocative soap,” like Scandal or Desperate Housewives, Deadline reports.
Photo: Courtesy of Amazon Studios.

Jennifer Salke 

Title: Head of Amazon Studios 

Career highlights: It’s difficult to cultivate a real broadcast hit these days. Yet, Jennifer Salke did just that by shepherding ratings juggernauts like This Is Us and the Chicago franchise to your TV screens during her six-year tenure as entertainment president of NBC. She left the Peacock in February 2018 once Amazon came calling in the wake of the Roy Price disaster

Price, the former head of Amazon studios, was ousted after sexual harassment claims. He resigned without  comment on the allegations. 

Why she’s a game-changer: In the wake of the #MeToo movement, it’s exciting to see Hollywood put its money where its mouth is and start recognizing the valuable women already in its ranks. And, Salke is trying to get us more Fleabag.
Photo: Amy Sussman/Getty Images.

Gina Balian

Title: President, original programming, FX Entertainment

Career highlights: Gina Balian was upped from executive VP of series development at FX to her new presidential title in May 2019. She was previously the senior VP of drama at HBO. 

Why she’s a game-changer: All your favorite FX series? Balian had a hand in them. In 2018 alone, she oversaw past Emmy darling The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story and the first season of current Emmy darling Pose, The Hollywood Reporter reports. She also developed FX’s other big 2019 Emmys draw, Fosse/Verdon

Photo: Courtesy of CBS.

Norah O'Donnell

Title: Host and managing editor of CBS Evening News; 60 Minutes contributor 

Career highlights: Noah O’Donnell was the co-anchor of CBS This Morning for seven years until May 2019. It was then she announced her exit in favor of the network’s primetime slot, CBS Evening News

O’Donnell and Morning co-host Gayle King were assuring and powerful figures during the turmoil of fellow anchor Charlie Rose’s 2017 sexual harassment scandal. 

Why she’s a game-changer: O’Donnell is only the third woman to act as the solo host of a national evening news show. Katie Couric, who held O’Donnell’s CBS desk from 2006 until 2011, and Diane Sawyer are the sole women to come before her. 
Photo: Courtesy of NBC.

Katie Hockmeyer

Title: Executive vice president, late night programming, NBC Entertainment.

Career highlights: Hockmeyer started out at NBC in its infamous page program. She has climbed the ranks there since, working as an executive assistant in Lorne Michaels’ office, going into the production team at both late-night Jimmy Fallon projects (Late Night and The Tonight Show), and eventually becoming a producer at The Tonight Show. Hockmeyer served as showrunner of the iconic series for two years. 

Why she’s a game-changer: Late-night is a famously male-dominated arena. Hockmeyer is helping change that. So, it makes sense to know she’ll be overseeing Lilly Singh’s historic A Little Late show, which debuted just days before the announcement of Hockmeyer’s promotion.
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