EVP, Limited Series, FX Networks
Balian’s inclusion on this list is a unanimous verdict as she was instrumental in the development and launch of the most successful program in FX’s history—“The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.” The miniseries was cable’s most-watched new series of the year and received 22 Emmy nominations, taking home nine. Balian especially gives comedies credit for creating diverse female roles—noting “Better Things,” “Grace and Frankie” and “Black-ish.” “Dramas need to catch up,” she says. Balian says the year’s biggest industry story is “Holding decision makers more accountable for diversity.”
What advice would you give your 13-year-old self?
You don’t need to listen to your parents who consistently urged you to stop watching TV or get off the phone. This is basically what I’m now paid to do.
Which current programming best reflects the kind of women’s roles you like to see and why?
In the last few years, comedy series have had a much more interesting range of female roles from Sam (Pamela Adlon) in “Better Things” to Frankie (Lily Tomlin) in “Grace and Frankie” to Rainbow (Tracee Ellis Ross) in “Black-ish” to Ali (Gaby Hoffman) in “Transparent.” They are all very unique. Dramas need to catch-up.
What’s been the biggest story in cable this year?
Holding decision makers more accountable for diversity.