Stories of leadership, persistence & achievement of TV women


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Scripts from Advanced TV Herstory episodes are from production dates June 2015 to present. Audio clips from external sources are noted in italics.

Anniversary Ep! 4 Years, 3 Hashtags, 2 Dreams

Summer 2015. I started this show. For a podcast that discusses TV herstory, I am amazed by the speed of cultural change all over the world. In knowing history we more readily understand and embrace this change. So I guess that makes Advanced TV Herstory more relevant than ever.

Listeners, it’s been my pleasure to be on this journey with you. Thank you for listening, for your feedback, ideas and support. I am your host, Cynthia Bemis Abrams. Four years, well north of 100 episodes. I know I’ve changed and gotten smarter. I hope you have too.

Before I go any further, I want to credit a smart, supportive circle for the podcast’s spirit and quality, primarily strategist Jen Edds of Brassy Broadcasting Company and Catherine Yang, my audio and social media editor. As you may know, there are few podcasts like Advanced TV Herstory. We tip our hat to podcast pioneer and legend Elsie Escobar, for her wisdom and support.  And as with all things in my life, my husband Dave is a partner in this endeavor, this hobby, this calling.


Is TV viewing leaving you a little jaded? We relish that we can tailor our viewing experiences, right – so we don’t have to see what we don’t want to see? 

This year where more than ever, we’re becoming more aware of who we AREN’T seeing, whose stories aren’t being told, who’s NOT writing the script – persons of color, women, persons of varying abilities, sizes and social standing. News and social media are covering this disparity, inequity more regularly.  But I get the feeling that systemic change will be a marathon – requiring sustained energies focused on learning, seeing and becoming less patient in some ways… more so in others.

Feminism is changing as older women speak out and as humans under 30 display an unprecedented sense of urgency. In 2019, to remain silent on matters of injustice or inequity is to be complicit. That’s heavy stuff. And maintaining that force requires energy.

I’m glad I put so many fun episodes into the archives in 2015 and 2016, because it feels like lately, celebrating the work of TV women comes with a hard edge.

BUT, this podcast wouldn’t be genuine if it didn’t recognize the hashtag social movements of MeToo and Times Up. The quest for safe work environments, free from sexual abuse or harassment, should be every person’s goal – not just women of working age. Similarly, equity – in pay, opportunity and credit – are key to the very heart and success of capitalism.  Everywhere you turn, the gross imbalance of power in society, across all industries is more obvious… and unacceptable… than it was four years ago.

We approach these struggles as more than fans, well-wishers and rabble rousers - though we’re those too. It’s to remind listeners from all stations in life that the power of entertainment and celebrity is great. Isn’t it? So when we learn of real-life stories of women in the entertainment business up against all the -isms we are – sexism, ageism, racism, able-ism, we relate to and learn from, them.

I’ve had 2 dreams in the last few months where I am having a conversation with Jane Fonda. I always wake up before we get to the heart of the wisdom she’s about to impart on me. But maybe it’s this…

When TV women like Ava DuVernay, CNN’s Ana Navarro and late night comedy host Samantha Bee call out headlines and oversights, we all become more empowered, in our own lives, to speak up, to document, keep receipts and not settle for less than we deserve. THIS is how power shifts.

In the summer of 2015, I wouldn’t have been able to articulate that thought quite as succinctly as I can today, 100 plus episodes and 2 dreams later. And that reflection brings me to a behind-the-scenes recap of our year.

You likely noticed the format shift, releasing seasons dedicated to a single topic instead of frequent unrelated episodes. I am able to conduct deeper research, find and speak with experts. In connecting more dots and staying relevant to today’s feminism, we’re producing a one-of-a-kind podcast.

Because yeah, where else can you listen to a feminist look at the holiday animated classic “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer?” In fact, our holiday fun began last fall with Catherine Yang’s millennial take on the classic TV series Charmed. Halloween, the Charmed re-boot and the feminist framework of this often overlooked original series put us in the mood to remind you all the reasons why it’s worth a re-watch or first watch.

We also had a rare interview with a man! Sometimes they make the best experts on a topic! Jim Jax is a prolific podcaster who calls out sexism in the sports industry. He shared knowledge and perspective into the careers of women sports reporters who’ve been attempting – attempting to report on sports for more than 40 years. That’s one more hashtag social movement that trends occasionally – hashtag let them work.

Because in summer 2019, we know some men don’t understand professional boundaries.

Clip from ESPN

Indeed, this was a season of hashtags and this podcast has a place in telling some of those stories and occasionally connecting dots. 

In October the talented Linda Bloodworth-Thomason went public with the treatment, 25 years ago from TV executive Les Moonves. Listen to that episode if you too wonder why some women fall of the radar, can’t be found on social media, drifted from promising careers. We are emboldened when someone like the creator of Designing Women finds her voice again.

Those were among the stand-alone episodes we produced. For a podcast like ours, the pace was unsustainable.

With more time to research and prepare, we brought you a five episode season that I hope that put The Judy Garland Show, which aired in 1963 and 1964 into your heart. My afternoon hosting Chicago’s award-winning Judy Garland expert Angela Ingersoll in our new home, while it was still under renovation, is a cherished memory. A fun interview conducted on my grandmother’s card table.

Yes, I love my work. But the podcast universe demands so much more than just fascinating content produced with love for your tender ears. This year we upped our social media game a bit.  Follow us on Instagram and Twitter where we have fun tying in news of the day with our old episodes, celebrate the births and careers of great women of TV, and weigh in on recognition, awards and headlines. 

On Instagram, we’re AdvancedTVHerstory. On Twitter, it’s just TVHerstory.

Also this year, our podcast became available on Spotify and Pandora. If that’s how you listen to music and other podcasts, your life just got easier.  Also, if you’re new-ish to the show and are looking for help in understanding the method to the madness of 100 + episodes, Catherine re-arranged the website so that categories and their collections are more pronounced. See for yourself at tvherstory – dot – com.

While you’re at the website, DO sign up for our e-newsletter. Not spam, contains no advertising – just a handful of notes, celebrations and coming attractions that keep us connected to you.

So what will this year bring? Listeners have told me the podcast is at its best when it ties headlines of the day with TV herstory so content-wise, more good stuff. Stay tuned as we expand our voice by writing for publications and posting more transcripts of past episodes. And by all means, if you’d like any of these topics brought to a  keynote, conference, workshop or classroom, shoot me a message using the contact form at the website.

And I’m saying this out loud because experts say when you say it out loud, it starts to become more real… every time I re-read a script and feel my energy for subject matter surge all over again, I tell myself this all deserves to be in print, in a book, because it’s EXACTLY the book you’d pick up at the airport or give as a gift. 

Let me know what you think about that or dots you’re connecting from your viewing experience that you’d like us to pursue. 

Thank you for making Advanced TV Herstory part of your listening and learning. You’re the best!

I’m your host, Cynthia Bemis Abrams