Lessons From a Panel on 'Courting' the Female Television Audience


Maybe you just had to be there, but the press coverage of a Producer’s Guild conference panel called “Courting the Female Audience” makes the whole event sound so weak sauce it’s surprising some members didn’t decide to forgo their union benefits and pull out of the guild entirely.

Discussions about women in television are very popular these days; just a few weeks ago, Netflix held one called “Women Rule TV” where women who work for Netflix shows sang the praises of Netflix. According to Deadline, the Produced by conference didn’t focus as much as “Women Rule TV” did on the magic of Robin Wright, however there was still plenty to be learned about womyn. For instance:

Women need complicated stuff to keep them intrigued…

“Women are looking for nuance,” said Mara Brock-Akil, creator and executive producer of Being Mary Jane and The Game. “We’re not all beautiful and gorgeous.”

…Unlike men. [Emphasis added]

“Female viewers are much more demanding and discerning,” said Matt Warburton, executive producer of Fox’s The Mindy Project. “They care about the quality of a show. For men, fart jokes and an explosion are enough.

You can always rely on zombies to keep women coming back.

The Walking Dead is the No. 1 show for women,” said Marc Juris, WE TV president and general manager.

Reality television is a good way to show Real Women.

Notwithstanding The Real Housewives of Pretty Much Everywhere, reality shows offer some of the best opportunities for female viewers to see real women like themselves dealing with everyday issues that affect their lives. “Reality does a much better job,” Juris said.


The panelists agreed that social media gives every viewer the chance to connect with their favorite shows, and sometimes, to keep them on the air.


Netflix and Hulu offer viewers the opportunity to catch up on an entire season of shows they may have missed, and that’s good for the networks because these “catch-up” viewers can then join the existing loyal fan base.

FYI women are secretly everywhere.

Juris, meanwhile, noted that women viewers can be found everywhere, and need to be courted accordingly. “Forty percent of ESPN’s viewership is women,” he said.

Two suggestions it doesn’t seem like they got to: 1. To figure out “what women want,” hire women to work for you 2. Then make good TV.

The entire event (including this panel) cost between $375 to $999 to attend.

Image via FOX

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