EVP, Development & Production, Discovery Communications

Contis oversees Discovery Channel’s series production and development offices nationally, a role that has helped the team score double-digit YOY growth and a record-breaking 2015. And it continues. May 2016 was the highest-rated in the network’s history. Most recently, she launched a hybrid new media unit to source fresh digital content and characters for a linear platform and created a Discovery development arm in London to source and cultivate content overseas. The biggest story in cable, according to Contis, is the massive viewership leading up to the Presidential election. “The televised debates have smashed linear and streaming viewership records,” she says.

What advice would you give your 13-year-old self?

Looking back, what wouldn’t I tell my teenage self? Ask for what you want, the worst that can happen is someone says “no.” Embrace failure and get back up quickly. Have faith. Be smart, kind, honest – and stand up for the right thing. Laugh, often. Follow your gut, it is rarely wrong. Lastly, I’d whisper to my a-bit-older self: Buy Apple.

What was the biggest story in cable?

The biggest and perhaps most surprising story in cable would be the massive viewership of this year’s Presidential election. The televised debates have smashed linear and streaming viewership records. The first Clinton/Trump debate faceoff set a new audience record in the 6-decade history of televised Presidential debates. As a result, the news Nets have taken a big bite out of cable – with Fox News, CNN and MSNBC enjoying double to triple digit growth. In my house, we’ve all become political junkies including my 10-year-old son who is obsessed with the debates and election analysis. Who knew?

What current programming reflect women’s roles you like to see?

“Grace and Frankie” features the kind of female characters that you don’t often see on TV.  The pair are divorced, older and flawed foes turned loyal friends. Grace and Frankie are also vibrant, funny and honest in their portrayal of a woman’s life in retirement. They are the kind of real characters that inspire in their nuance and the kind of women it’d be great to see more of on TV.

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