Chief Programming, Content & Brand Officer, Scripps Networks Interactive
Finch was named the 2016 WICT Woman of the Year—and with good reason. Since being elevated to her role in August 2015, household primetime ratings have risen at all six Scripps networks. Among highlights, Q3 and September 2016 were HGTV’s highest-rated ever in primetime among A25-54, and Travel Channel’s 3Q saw its fourth consecutive quarter of year-to-year primetime ratings growth among its 11th consecutive month of year-over-year primetime growth among W25-54. “The content creation side of the industry does a pretty good job with gender equality,” she says. “I’ve always thought that was partially due to the fact that women make up the majority of TV viewers, so it makes sense that women are good at making TV programming that women want to watch.”
Which sector of the cable industry best demonstrates gender equality? Which could use some enlightenment?
The content creation side of the industry does a pretty good job with gender equality. I’ve always thought that was partially due to the fact that women make up the majority of TV viewers, so it makes sense that women are good at making TV programming that women want to watch. We’re the target audience and our own focus group! But the technical side of the industry definitely could use better female representation. Women are underrepresented in tech, in science and in math and computer related functions, so encouraging more women to pursue those fields of study in college would serve the cable industry well.
What advice would you give your 13-year-old self?
Speak up! Be heard! Be brave! Don’t worry so much about following the rules or wondering what other people think. Just go for what you want to accomplish and don’t ever stand in your own way.
Which current programming best reflects the kind of women’s roles you like to see and why?
I love scripted programming with strong, successful, professional women as the leads. There aren’t enough characters like “Madame Secretary” or “Scandal’s” Olivia Pope on television — there should be a lot more.