Lifetime has tripled the number of women directors hired to help scripted series projects under the network’s award-winning Broad Focus initiative, which Gateley champions. Alas, further change toward equality won’t come easy, she says. “Most of the discrimination is unconscious gender bias, which can only be changed if one calls it out when it happens in the room,” Gateley notes. “But for that, women are often labeled ‘difficult,’ so companies need to become more educated.”
Who is your favorite current female TV character and why?
Of course, my favorite TV characters are Rachel and Quinn from “UnREAL.” Beyond my own network’s shows, it would be a tie: I loved Janine (played by Madeline Brewer) from “Handmaid’s Tale.” Elisabeth Moss was incredible and so deserved the Best Actress Emmy for her portrayal of Offred, but the hope that that Janine added to that series every time she appeared on screen, notwithstanding the incredible hardships she faced, stood out to me. The other would be Karen Walker from the return of “Will & Grace”—the world just needs silly laughs right now.
What industry topic do you think will dominate industry headlines in 2018 and why?
The loss of “Fixer Upper”? Kidding. When we live in a world that is so unpredictable, it’s hard to say what industry topic will dominate but for cable, I think the constant debate and discussion around capturing accurate ratings data when audiences are increasingly watching on various platforms will continue.
What is one way the industry can continue to evolve in ridding itself of gender discrimination?
Gender discrimination will unfortunately continue for a long time in our industry because women and men communicate so differently and because more men are in senior power roles and often aren’t even aware of it. Most of the discrimination is unconscious gender bias which can only be changed if one calls it out when it happens in the room. But for that, women are often labeled “difficult,” so companies need to become more educated. I’ve been lucky to be part of the ReFrame team led by Sundance Women and WIF so I know a lot about this. How to rid it is complicated but in one sentence? Have the most senior man in the room take notes and order lunch!
What famous woman, living or deceased, would you like to have dinner with?
(Former First Lady) Michelle Obama. I just miss their presidency. I have had the pleasure of meeting her briefly at one of events we co-hosted for Lifetime around our Women’s Veterans special, but one-on-one with Michelle for two hours would be amazing.
Best advice for relieving stress?
Meditation and exercise. For me, these are the only two ways to combat it.