Advanced TV Herstory

99 EpisodesProduced by Cynthia Bemis Abrams, TV Scholar, Writer, Leadership/PR consultant

Finally, a podcast about TV & women! Enjoy an in-depth review of lessons of leadership, persistence and achievement of TV women. We talk why it's important women see themselves on TV and how and why that's changed over the years. Do you love talking TV? So do we!Produced by Cynthia Bemis Abrams, a … read more

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Pt 5 Complicated Treasure: The Judy Garland Show - Finding the Feminist Lesson

February 1st, 2019


What role does Judy & her series play in TV Herstory? Episode explores women storytelling, persistence, and sexism that serve as modern lessons …

Pt 4 Complicated Treasure: The Judy Garland Show - Herstoric TV Guests & Performances

February 1st, 2019


Judy's series served as a bridge of American talent, featuring stars of stage and screen at every point in their careers: Barbra Streisand, Ethel Merman, Mickey Rooney, Lena Horne, Lorna Luft, Liza Minelli, Diahann …

Pt 3 Complicated Treasure: The Judy Garland Show - Unmatched! Production Budget Pressure

February 1st, 2019


Cynthia and Chicago-based, Emmy-nominated performer and Garland Scholar Angela Ingersoll exchange feminist insight into this important television …

Pt 2 Complicated Treasure: The Judy Garland Show - Angela Ingersoll Frames Judy's Legacy

February 1st, 2019


As we come upon the 50th anniversary of Judy’s passing, one look at the books, plays, and documentaries about her life reveals a certain pattern: primarily written and produced by men. Her life was surrounded by men.

Pt 1 Complicated Treasure: The Judy Garland Show - Judy Finally Makes it to TV

February 1st, 2019


Judy Garland's career in the 50s was made up of concerts, films and having kids. We explore why she resisted TV until her concert performances …

Women of "Grandma Got Runover"

November 29th, 2018


No-spoil review of a rare holiday classic in which two women feature prominently in the plot! Based on Elmo Shroppshire's song of the same name from …

TV Women are Cultural Data

November 15th, 2018


Why is America so divided and how did we get here? Cynthia probes that question from a TV Herstoric perspective.

Also, be the first to hear how …

Women TV Sports Reporter Legends

November 1st, 2018


After 40+ years of effort, the number of highly visible women covering TV sports is minuscule. Podcast/radio regular Jim Jax participates in …

Witches are Back! Classic Charmed and 2018 Feminism

October 18th, 2018


The series Charmed, originally airing from 1998 to 2006 on the WB, can now be seen as a TV classic. Charmed tells the story of the three (sometimes …

Briana Venskus on Bringing Life to Roles

October 4th, 2018


Actor Briana Venskus of Agents of SHIELD, Grace and Frankie, Walking Dead and Outcast shares oodles of wisdom about fan engagement, progress of LGBTQ storylines & casting and the strength of streaming platforms in …

Linda Bloodworth-Thomason Emerges from Exile

September 20th, 2018


Headlines in late summer 2018 caught me at my core - prompting me to realize why we cherish some of the finest writing & acting onTV - from Murphy Brown and Designing Women. We DO need to pay closer attention to the …

Sports Night: More Relevant than Ever

September 6th, 2018


Whether you've ever watched Aaron Sorkin's 1998-2000 classic series Sports Night or not, this episode explains its 2018 relevance and calls for a reboot. We recently reviewed a sexual harassment plot from That Girl

TV's Single Women Caregivers and Gimme A Break!

August 23rd, 2018


In taking a look at Jeanine Furino's book All the Single Girls, the lead character single woman caregiver has evolved over 60 years. This episode …

Telling Stories of Women Across Media: An Interview with Sarah Moshman

August 9th, 2018


From Dancing with the Stars to her latest documentary, Nevertheless, Producer, director in both TV & film Sarah Moshman tells stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Join us as we discuss funding, …

Tending the Fandom

July 26th, 2018


Women writers & directors bring a distinct lens to their jobs, so too have Dorothy Swanson and Liz Prugh led fan movements in ways that have benefited many. Hear more about how Swanson's "Viewers for Quality …

Norman Lear's 70s Lady Bench

July 12th, 2018


America's TV landscape was changing rapidly in the 70s. Popular characters in Norman Lear's portfolio of shows who went on to star in spinoffs. From 

3 Years! Highlights and A Look Ahead

July 5th, 2018


Three years since publishing our first episode, we're lighting candles & making a wish. This anniversary edition briefly reviews show changes made this year, with a focus on content about leadership, persistence and …

That Girl and Sexual Harassment

June 28th, 2018


Season 1 (1966-67) of TV Classic That Girl delivered an all too familiar story line. Guest star Carroll O'Connor played an opera singer with …

Anti-Heroines and Jessica Jones

June 14th, 2018


This is beyond Green Acres! It's time we talk about complex women characters; those called "unlikable" who strive to do good or carry out justice, …

TV's Single Woman, The Feminerd

May 31st, 2018


Author Jeanine Furino shares insight into her term, "Feminerd" and TV's single women characters who best fit the description. We talk about Feminerds that blossom professionally and find love and happiness, like Liz …

Daria's Impact on Feminism

May 17th, 2018


MTV's Daria gave representation and voice to women and girls who are smart, discerning and impatient. It aired 1997-2002, but the series impact is felt today in the action and leadership of feminist movements creating …

Patty Duke memoir "In the Presence of Greatness" Pt 2

May 3rd, 2018


Interview with Bill Jankowski, who worked with Anna "Patty" Duke to document her experiences and observations working with greats from film, stage and TV. Duke shared her talents with audiences, earning an Oscar & …

Patty Duke memoir "In the Presence of Greatness" Pt 1

May 3rd, 2018


Interview with Bill Jankowski, who worked with Anna "Patty" Duke to document her experiences and observations working with greats from film, stage and TV. Duke shared her talents with audiences, earning an Oscar & …

Lessons from Shonda, Year of Yes

April 19th, 2018


Storyteller extraordinaire, showrunner & human being Shonda Rhimes dropped a lot of leadership & life in her 2015 book Year of Yes.

Shonda lessons like knowing your audience, managing change and work-life …

Sex and the City & Us

April 5th, 2018


NY Times best selling author Jennifer Keishin Armstrong dishes the details on her June 2018 bookSex and the City and Us. Just as she did in her previous books on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Seinfeld, Armstrong …

TV's Single Woman, Who Doesn't Know What She Wants

March 22nd, 2018


Depending on your hours spent on TV, you may remember characters who came across as searching for or wishy-washy about life goals. We follow up with …

Storytelling and Themes from Athena Film Festival 2018

March 8th, 2018


Fascinating conversations took place at Barnard College's (NYC) Athena Film Festival last month about women, representation & the power of …

Reboots, One Day at a Time & Rita Moreno

February 26th, 2018


What's with reboots & refashioning movies and TV series of the 70s, 80s & 90s? Will audiences expect reboots to surpass the originals?

One Day at a Time ran for 204 episodes through the late 70s and early 80s. …

TV's Single Women

February 14th, 2018


Interview with Jeanine Furino, author of All the Single Girls, a look at 60 years of television's depiction of unmarried women in women-centric …

TV's Lady Spies & Crimefighters

January 22nd, 2018


Interview with Karen Romanko, author of Television's Female Spies and Crimefighters is a fun walk through 50 years of series and characters.

Romanko shares background, life-long interest in TV & processes for how …

The Honeymooners' Feminist Audrey Meadows

January 1st, 2018


Associate Producer Monica Rivera shares her deep interest in The Honeymooners & it's nothing short of amazing. Hear about how it so richly influenced this Gen Xer’s urban upbringing and how Audrey Meadows' "Alice" …

Designing Women's Earnest NYE

December 28th, 2017


American TV storytelling sometimes struggles with a good New Years plot.

Or it did until Linda Bloodworth-Thomason fired up her typewriter in 1989 to deliver the January 1, 1990 episode of Designing Women entitled “The …

Gift Giving Recs for TV Fans

December 10th, 2017


Still pondering what to get that hard-to-buy-for TV fan in your life? This podcast has your back, walking you through 5+ great gift ideas used in producing past episodes. All are classics or discuss classics! Designing …

Kim Fields Interview: Blessed Life

December 9th, 2017


The Facts of Life & Living Single fans, enjoy a candid walk down memory lane in this interview with 40 year TV veteran Kim Fields. From parenting to finding voice, confidence and strength in this demanding world, …

Debbie Allen Shapes A Different World

November 14th, 2017


A few decisions transformed "A Different World" from a struggling, rudderless sitcom to the classic it became. Much of that was due to Debbie Allen stepping in as creative force and aligning the set, characters and …

[Elizabeth] Taylor Made Monday

October 17th, 2017


Southgate Media Group podcast marathon, Elgin, IL

Feb. 26, 1996 CBS Monday night line-up, 4 women-centric sitcoms

Elizabeth Taylor's "Black Pearls" perfume line launch

The Nanny, Fran Dresher, 3rd season - directed by …

TV Women in Wrestling Ring: PodSlam Live Recording

October 13th, 2017


Special live taping at Chicago's iO Theater, PodSlam is a fundraiser for pediatric cancer (Connor's Cure) & the V Foundation

Women wrestling on TV, frequent plot during the 70s & 80s; good vs. evil, Americans …

Esther Rolle's Hope for Good Times

September 18th, 2017


Norman Lear & Tandem Productions winning streak

All in the Family > Maude > Good Times

1965 Federal Report: “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action”

Good Times family structure: single mother or …

BSG's Laura Roslin Shattered Stereotypes

September 16th, 2017


International understanding of American feminism with Austrian cultural studies student Julia Krassnik

Susan Sontag's 1972 article on stereotypes

Sarah McLachlan's PSA: Angels, cats & dogs

August 17th, 2017


How the ASPCA landed McLachlan

Record-setting amount raised through a PSA

Tactics that raised visibility & invited discord

Bottom line

Year 2 Recap & A Look Ahead

August 5th, 2017


Lessons learned in 2 years

Holidays that appear in TV plots: Christmas, not Mothers Day


Woman's right to make her own health care decisions …

TV Writer April Smith on Lou Grant, Cagney & Lacey and storytelling

July 19th, 2017


Novelist April Smith got her start telling stories on TV for award winning shows like Lou Grant, Cagney & Lacey and Chicago Hope.

Writing short stories in Boston

It's not what you know, it's who you know - and who …

Women Who Reported Watergate

July 2nd, 2017


Barbara Walters, Lesley Stahl & Connie Chung are the women who reported on the Watergate Scandal for the national news networks. 

Representation of women in journalism

Walters ascends from Washington bureau to …

A podcast about Girlfriends (2000-8)!

June 25th, 2017


UPN's strong line up of African-American centric programming in the late 90s & 00s.

Tracee Ellis Ross led ensemble cast

Discussion with podcasters Stephanie Williams and Elizabeth Ajunwa of Let Go Let Flo

Shari Lewis & Lamb Chop's Impact on Kids TV

June 5th, 2017


For more than 45 years, ventriloquist Shari Lewis (1933-1998) educated and entertained audiences on TV.

Lamb Chop, Charley Horse and Hush Puppy …

Twilight TV Career of Joan Crawford

May 20th, 2017



Developing successful niche fan site The Concluding Chapter of Joan Crawford

Veracity of details in FX's Feud: Bette and Joan

Crawford's …

Mother's Day Without Carol Brady

May 7th, 2017


Our 2017 Mother's Day - Women in TV tribute is to Florence Henderson (1934-2016), who portrayed the woman who sits atop every TV blogger's list. …

Hot Pants in Hollywood

April 23rd, 2017


Memoir Hot Pants in Hollywood: Sex, Secrets & Sitcoms

Susan Silver & I discuss writing for TV's The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Maude and Square …

Romper Room's Miss Sherri & Thalidomide

April 18th, 2017


Romper Room as regionally syndicated children's show, early Baby Boom

Sherri Finkbine - Arizona market Romper Room "teacher"

Thalidomide to relieve symptoms of  morning sickness

Medical decisions

Made for TV Movie A …

Ten Years of Women & Hollywood

April 2nd, 2017


Highlights from an interview with Melissa Silverstein

Founder of Women and Hollywood

Worldwide network of entertainment leaders who share her passion

On-Air Power of Curry & Pauley

March 20th, 2017


Ann Curry's 10 years as face of news on The Today Show

Matt Lauer chemistry

Jane Pauley's forced departure in 1989

Bryan Gumbel's spin of Pauley …

China Beach Tackles the Topic

March 5th, 2017


China Beach (1988-1991) Vietnam War as seen through eyes of American women

Script by Carol Flint and Lydia Woodward

"Holly's Choice" from third …

Talking Persistence with APB's Marlene Forte

February 22nd, 2017


Cuban-born actress Marlene Forte (

Persistence in voice and energy

Emerging lead of Latina mother/daughter relationships in current TV series APB, Altered Carbon, The Fosters and Fear the …

TV's Smiling Feminist: Dinah Shore

January 27th, 2017


Dinah Shore: Profile in feminism

Raised in Tennessee

Singing & performing at young age, graduate of Vanderbilt University

Standing with Ella …

TV Fashion Trend Setters

January 8th, 2017


Guest Ann Rosenquist Fee, MFA, a fashion observer, blogger, author/editor & arts non-profit executive

Influence from TV to fashion merchandising and design

60s Patty Duke, Barbara Stanwyck, sew at-home patterns

70s …

Bewitched's Holiday Ep "Sisters at Heart"

December 14th, 2016


Betwitched's incredible popularity

Elizabeth Montgomery and William Asher as producers

Backstory of high school writing submission

Noted woman writer …

Daytime Storyteller & Showrunner Agnes Nixon

November 26th, 2016


Career profile of Agnes Nixon, including interview with media studies professor Elana Levine, PhD of University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

Nixon (Northwestern University) legacy of daytime drama show creation

Approach to …

Geena Davis as Commander in Chief (2005-6)

November 5th, 2016


Aired for single season, during the Bush administration

Woman VP ascends to presidency

Balance of sinister & good

Geena Davis, woman surrounded primarily by men


Maude: TV's Timeless Feminist Icon

October 15th, 2016


Maude character was spin off from All in the Family, a Norman Lear production

Bea Arthur's theatrical chops

Plots touched on every controversial …

Unsinkable Rosie O'Donnell

October 7th, 2016


America’s EveryWoman, Rosie O’Donnell

Humble beginnings,

Comedy roles in sitcoms & A League of Their Own

1996-2002 award winning talk-variety show

Daytime TV's Vulture Culture

September 18th, 2016


Daytime (audience-participation) shows from the 90s & 2000s, analyzed and cataloged by media studies experts Kathalene Razzano, Loubna Skalli and …

Salute to TV's HS Teachers

August 28th, 2016


Memories of teachers good and scary.

Quite a highlight reel w/ extra attention to extraordinary performances, positive messaging & quirky style.

TV, Women & Politics with Susan Silver

August 8th, 2016


Susan Silver, noted pioneer comedy writer of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Maude & Square Pegs

2016 Presidential Election coverage by women reporters & analysts

Ana Novarro of CNN




A Year's Reflection on TV Herstory

June 15th, 2016


What I’ve learned in producing these segments.

Struck by what I don’t find, in conducting research.


Angela Bassett Leads ER's Final Season (2008-9)

May 13th, 2016


15th & final season of NBC's ER brought the accomplished Angela Bassett to lead the ensemble cast.

Season begins with exposition of staff …

Murphy Brown Gives Birth (May 1992)

May 8th, 2016


Murphy Brown & creator Diane English - Season 4, unplanned pregnancy.

Colleen Dewhurst as Murphy's mother Avery Brown.

Dan Quayle comments about …

Early ER's Lewis & Hathaway

April 22nd, 2016


ER - award winning & new concept medical show

All star cast through the years

Representation of women in medical profession

Carol Hathaway - …

Women Who Influenced Early MTV

April 10th, 2016


MTV launched careers beyond the 5 VJs. Cable TV's coverage of middle America plugged MTV directly into consumer living rooms

Original format "Popclips" - brainchild of Monkee & genius Mike Nesmith; Sexism in the …

I Believe Anita Hill

March 24th, 2016


Anita Hill became a household name in an instant.

Nationally televised hearings were booster rockets for C-SPAN.

#69 in American Rhetoric's Top 100 …

70s Lady Private Eyes - Drew, Columbo & the Angels

March 6th, 2016


Emergence of women in title roles - mid 70s, Title IX, the ERA

Barney Rosenzweig & Aaron Spelling

Pamela Sue Martin's walk out on the Nancy Drew …

Patty Duke's Place in Herstory

February 24th, 2016


This 2016 episode was published just weeks before Anna "Patty" Duke's unexpected death. Duke, winner of an Academy Award, multiple Emmys and honored …

FLOTUS on TV: Roosevelt & Ford

February 8th, 2016


Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady & pioneering communicator

Frank Sinatra Show appearance (1959)

Recites a poem in a voice that sends chills...

Betty …

Women of Super Bowl Halftimes

February 2nd, 2016


Unscripted viewing of highlights of Super Bowl Halftime Shows t

Performances by 6 women, all available on YouTube. 

Omitted performances by major …

Designing Women 1, Bodyshaming 0

January 23rd, 2016


"It was like Nixon going to China."

Commentary by guest & media/gender scholar Wendy Burns-Ardolino; 

Season 4 of Designing Women.

Delta Burke's …

4-Female Theory and Living Single (1993-8)

January 13th, 2016


Wendy Burns-Ardolino Professor at Grand Valley State University (MI)


Research & interest for her 2015 book TV Female Foursomes and …

Lucille Ball's Humility & Pride

January 5th, 2016


Lucy left this world as a bit of a mystery. She left so much unexplained, kept wisdom to herself (or at least kept it closely held).

Kennedy Center Honors  House Un-American Activities Committee > Ronald and Nancy …

Diana Ross' 1983 Central Park Concert

December 2nd, 2015


Perhaps finest 90 minutes of video ever. Big concert mishaps from the past. On-stage leadership, simply Supreme. The crowd, the exit, the concert the next day. Where were the lawyers?

Women Writers of MTM Pt 3 (Treva Silverman)

November 23rd, 2015


Chief (female) writer for The Mary Tyler Moore Show; Comedy from a woman's perspective; Emmy TV Legends interview 2007

Bumped into James L. Brooks, …

Women of MTM (1970-77) Pt 1

November 12th, 2015


Guest Jennifer Keishin Armstrong; Background, Northwestern University. Resource: Jennifer Keishin Armstrong (2013) Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted – and All the Brilliant Minds Who Made the Mary Tyler Moore Show a …

6 Lost Episodes of Cagney and Lacey

November 6th, 2015


The Movie-of-the-Week Pilot with Loretta Swit as Cagney. Limits with MASH contract. Auditions by prominent TV/film actresses, Meg Foster gets the …

The Closer Pt 2 (Seasons 5-7)

October 25th, 2015


Picks up from podcast discussion of leadership growth of Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson (The Closer Pt 1, Seasons 1-4)

Introduction of Capt. …

4 Women of Sisters 1991-96

October 21st, 2015


4 woman ensemble in hour long drama. Obscure, only 2 seasons on DVD, some on YouTube. Emmy Awards for cast  & crew

The 4  sisters, what have they …

Concept to Pilot: Cagney & Lacey

September 22nd, 2015


The first ever women's Buddy/Cop show. Rosenzweig builds vision on Charlie's Angels. Barbara Avedon and Barbara Corday study work environments of …

Powerpuff Girls

September 16th, 2015


Children's television as generational identifier; Bubbles, Blossom & Buttercup - traits and voice talent behind them.

Creator Craig McCracken backstory. Controversy among feminists. Controversy among elementary …

Hill Street Blues' Davenport & Bates

September 12th, 2015


Emmy award-winning Hill Street Blues, from the era of Quality television

Representation of women in law enforcement (uniformed) and law

Characters of Lucy Bates and Joyce Davenport provided moral & ethical voice in …

80s Monied Matriarchs: Ellie Ewing and Angela Channing

August 26th, 2015


Serial drama genre's appearance in prime time in the 70s: Dallas and Falcon Crest

Audience bait - acclaimed film actresses Barbara Bel Geddes and …

Debbie Allen (Early Career, Fame TV series)

August 19th, 2015


Debbie Allen, actress, choreographer, business-owner, director, producer, writer. Growing up in the segregated south. Influenced by her mom

Howard …

Women of My So Called Life (1994-5)

August 12th, 2015


Winnie Holzman, lead writer. Paley Center interview with Claire Danes & Bess Armstrong

Angela: teenage philosopher & asker of rhetorical …

Battle of the Sexes: King & Riggs 1973

August 8th, 2015


King emerges as "Mother Freedom"

Reigning women's tennis champ Margaret Court loses to Bobby Riggs on Mother's Day. Competition with no assurances; Akin to the Super Bowl

Resource: Selena Roberts' 2005 A Necessary …

Betty White's Career in TV

July 27th, 2015


Show biz bug. Choosing to be childless

Life With Elizabeth - being the titled female in a comedy (1953-55) & a feel for where SueAnn Nivens came from. The Betty White Show x 4

Life with Allen Ludden: Game show & …

The Closer Pt. 1 (Seasons 1-4)

July 15th, 2015


Kyra Sedgwick as Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson

TNT Original Series - acclaimed and high ratings. Personal and professional growth.  Resource: The Leadership Challenge by William Kouzes and Barry Posner

Sports Night (1998-2000)

July 6th, 2015


Sports Night - time capsule show during cable news' heyday & early days of the internet.

Felicity Huffman character - strong woman leader. Robert …

Basic TV Herstory

June 30th, 2015


Five generations of American women have been depicted in TV. Five generations of women have been influenced by impressions of other women they've seen on TV. 

This was the podcast's initial mission and focus - summer …

Nancy Drew Mysteries (1977-79)

June 24th, 2015


Teen fiction in the 30s & stringent standards for the girl detective

Warner Brothers attempt to put Nancy Drew on the silver screen

Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries on Sunday nights in 1977-79: DISASTER

Pamela Sue …

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