MCNWW 2005: A Wonder Woman Finds Relevance

Lauren Zalaznick's Remarks at the Wonder Women Luncheon

EDITOR'S NOTE: Following is an excerpt of remarks by Lauren Zalaznick, president, Bravo, in March 2005, expressing what it was like to be inducted into the year's class of MCN Wonder Women in Cable.

The words “wonder woman” conjure up the concept of a superhero. A stronger-than-anyone-else female. Specifically, we conjure up the Lynda Carter Wonder Woman of 1976, by now with a good deal of affection and also a healthy dose of irony. It’s not that I don’t find hot pants and a tiara relevant, it’s just maybe not relevant to the office — even for this crowd, I don’t think it qualifies as “business casual.”

If we’re going to reach back to old TV, maybe I feel like I could find relevance to a Bionic Woman tribute. But she was part machine, which was a little sad and scary, and she had to depend on that Bionic Man to launch her career. So forget about her, too. Let’s get out of the past and cut to the present.

Okay, you could give me recognition with a C.J. Craig award. You know, on The West Wing. C.J.’s relevant to me — always working very closely with very powerful men — the rulers of the universe who, on The West Wing and kind of like in my real life, are very smart, experienced, powerful. Did I mention that they’re mostly all men?

Okay, some short-ish, neurotic men with varying degrees of hair loss?

But still they’re smart and powerful and I’m in that inner circle. Yeah I’d take a C.J. Craig award. That’s relevant.

But as most of the people who I work with will vouch for, I’m all about the future, not even the present.

So cut to a character that hasn’t been on the air yet. Maybe it’s a character based on what Brandweek magazine identified as a “new kind of American woman.”

Even more evolved than a high-performance “multitasker,” apparently now women have been assigned a new role, that of a multi-minder. This article sources a study from the U.S. Department of Labor that says “today’s typical woman, even if she appears to be relaxing in front of a late-night television show, reading a magazine or tackling an array of projects at work, is constantly thinking about and preparing for the multiple dimensions of her life, mentally juggling an unending array of work, home and selfcare concerns while tackling or embracing the moment that she’s in.”

Last time I checked, if I got an award for multi-minding based on a TV character it would be called the Sybil Award, and I know that’s not an honor I’d like to have. But I could get a great TV show out of it. With 15 spinoffs. Now that’s relevant.

So forget the characters.

In real life, I have a great job with a great team, great peers, and great bosses.

I don’t know how to say exactly how I got this great award, this reward. But I’m getting it. In stages, with hard thought and hard work.

Definitely still evolving, but I’m getting it.

And the thing is, it’s not a compromise, it’s not a juggle.

That’s why it’s called having it all! That’s where I find the relevance.

It’s wonderful to be a Wonder Woman.