President, BBC Worldwide North America
Sarnoff stepped up to replace Herb Scannell at the helm of BBC last year. She’s responsible for driving growth across the company’s diversified business divisions in the U.S. and Canada, a multifaceted job that includes oversight for BBC Worldwide Productions, producers of “Dancing with the Stars” and “Getting On”; Adjacent Productions; linear and digital program sales and co-productions; home entertainment; licensing; live events; film and BBC.com. She also leads efforts to amplify BBC Worldwide’s global brands including “Top Gear and “Doctor Who,” and natural history brand BBC Earth. A vocal proponent of elevating women’s roles in cable, Sarnoff says, “For all of you bold and creative women out there—keep fighting the good fight to become influential power players and help bring parity to our industry.”
Which sector of the cable industry best demonstrates gender equality? Which could use some enlightenment?
The Cable industry has always had more women than broadcast, but we still have a lot of work to do both behind and in front of the camera. After concluding a 10-year gender study, the Women’s Media Center has found that women have received only 22 percent of the nominations for Primetime Emmy’s in writing, directing, producing and editing. At the 2015 Emmy Awards, only 25 percent of nominees were women. WMC found that the problem stems from women not being hired for behind-the-scenes positions in the first place. So for all of you bold and creative women out there – keep fighting the good fight to become influential power players and help bring parity to our industry.
What advice would you give your 13-year-old self?
Oh my, where to begin? Listen to your gut, be who you are and have faith in yourself, and don’t sweat the small stuff!
Which current programming best reflects the kind of women’s roles you like to see and why?
Women in leadership positions, like the President of the United States, of course!
What’s been the biggest story in cable this year?
In terms of programming, the election coverage leads most stories, and in terms of deals, AT&T/Time Warner merger.