New York — From lighthearted praise by Univision’s Jennifer Ball for a role model, “the wicked witch of the West,” to a warm closing toast to “great women” by NBCUniversal’s Dana Zimmer, the 10th annual “Wonder Women” luncheon last week treated 875 attendees to a generous serving of good advice — and one notable confession.
Sherry Brennan, senior vice president of distribution strategy and development at Fox Networks, said she was on the board of Women in Cable Telecommunications’ New York chapter when the idea was first raised to single out Wonder Women in the cable industry.
“I was against the idea,” she said, to much laughter. “I said something like, ‘We have enough awards in this industry.’” (WICT New York cohosts the event, with Multichannel News, which selects the honorees.)
Brennan said she was outvoted. “And I just want to take this opportunity to publicly acknowledge that I was wrong. We need this award.”
Lessons learned: Two heads are better than one, and it’s important to lose gracefully.
Ball invoked the wicked witch because she played that part in a fourth-grade production of “The Wizard of Oz.”
But a teacher first cast her as a munchkin, because she was a small kid. Her mother complained and got young Jennifer the dual role of munchkin and witch. Ball said she’s also learned in her career that “you don’t have to play that role to be here.”
Suddenlink chief financial officer Mary Meduski originally wanted to be a doctor before becoming a banker and then a cable executive. That taught her “you have to love what you do and make a change if you don’t, even if that makes you the oldest Wonder Woman on the stage — just sayin’.”
Marissa Freeman, senior vice president of brand strategy and marketing communications at Time Warner Cable, observed: “There is a Wonder Woman inside all of you, even the men.”
Michelle Vicary, executive vice president of programming at Crown Media Family Networks, enthused: “I’m so lucky to be in an industry where women have some of the best jobs in the world.”
And Zimmer — who went last, alphabetically — acknowledged a shouted- out happy birthday and then ended her remarks with a toast: “Great women: may we know them, may we be them, may we hire them and may we raise them.”
Videos of all 12 Wonder Women speeches will be available on multichannel. com on Thursday (March 23).
Comcast EVP Cohen Ranks Among Top Obama ‘Bundlers’
There are some familiar media industry names in the latest list of “bundlers” for President Obama’s 2012 campaign.
Bundlers are contributors who go that extra mile, or in this case dollar, to, as OpenSecrets.org puts it, “turn to friends, associates, and, well, anyone who’s willing to give, and deliver the checks to the candidate in one big “bundle.” Though not required to report bundling by anyone but a registered lobbyist, President Obama agreed to report all bundlers who raised more than $50,000.
According to OpenSecrets, no Republican challengers have agreed to provide that data beyond the lobbyist reporting required by the Federal Elections Commission.
As of March 5, Comcast executive vice president David Cohen is high on the leader board, having bundled at least $500,000 in checks. Because of the way the bundled donations are reported, it is not clear how much above that level he went, other than it is north of a half million.
The Comcast exec — called out as a “wonder man” by Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC’s Morning Joe at last week’s Wonder Women luncheon — ranked third on the OpenSecrets list of top Obama bundlers, behind DreamWorks SKG’s Jeffrey Katzenberg and Chicagoan Fred Eychaner, on the basis of having given more than $1 million (individually and through family members) to federal candidates, parties and PACs in all election cycles since 1990.
A former chief of staff to Democratic Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell, Cohen hosted a fall fund-raiser for the president and the DNC at his home, and also hosted a fundraiser for Obama the first time around in 2008.
Also in the $500,000 club is Tom Wheeler, the former National Cable Television Association president and managing director of Core Capital Partners. He advised the Obama transition team and later was instrumental in advising the president to move back the DTV transition date.
Tennis Channel chief Ken Solomon also has served up the green at $500,000-plus. In 2008, he bundled in the $100,000-$200,000 range for Obama.
In the $200,000- $500,000 category you fi nd former Democratic FCC commissioner (a Clinton appointee) Susan Ness. She left the agency in 2001 and is currently a consultant. All in, folks from the TV/movie/ music spheres bundled at least $4.75 million, in fi fth place as a category behind lawyers, bankers, business services and real estate.
‘Lost Girl’ Chatter
Anna Silk: “That sex scene that Kris is talking about was almost like doing a stunt. I mean it was exhausting and I remember it was my birthday that day, do you remember that, Kris?
Kris Holden-Ried: “That’s right.”
Anna Silk: “I spent it nude covered in blood on top of you. It was a great way to spend my birthday.”
— Overheard during a call with bloggers last week were Lost Girl’s Anna Silk and Kris Holden- Ried. The Canadian supernatural drama stars Silk as Bo, a succubus who feeds off sexual energy, and Holden-Ried as her love interest. Season 1 on Syfy ends tonight (March 19) at 10 p.m.