President & GM, BBC America

Barnett’s first two years at the helm of BBC America have been marked both by notable ratings successes and forward thinking aimed at keeping the network at the top of its game. BBCA had its best year ever in 2015 in total viewers and its 11th consecutive year of growth on the wings of hit series including “Orphan Black” and “Dr. Who,” and 2016 is pacing to be even bigger with debuts including “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency.” As to women’s roles in cable, Barnett suggests looking even more broadly, stating, “How great when we never have to hear the word ‘female’ in front of something – CEO, athlete, president, etc.”

Which sector of the cable industry best demonstrates gender equality? Which could use some enlightenment?

I find PR/communications an area in media and more generally in society where gender is less foregrounded – think about communications directors in politics, it’s neither an overly feminized nor masculinized role.  The role of CEO on the other hand is as we all know both statistically and culturally less neutral.  How great when we never have to her the word ‘female’ in front of something (CEO, athlete, president etc)

Which current programming best reflects the kind of women’s roles you like to see and why?

I really like the fresh female experience represented on “Fleabag” on Amazon – cruel, startling comedy twists so geniusly into heart-wrenching, honest drama.

What’s been the biggest story in cable this year?

The success of shows with people of color at the center.  From “Power” to “Underground” to Braxtons to “Huang’s World” (my own personal favorite).   As viewership fragments, the business as well as the politics of diversity plays out in positive ways.

The Daily


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