S. (Lucie) Salhany became the first woman to manage an American
broadcast television network when she was appointed chairman of
FOX Broadcasting Company in January 1993. The company, a subsidiary
of Rupert Murdoch's FOX Incorporated, is the fourth national television
network to be formed in the United States, after ABC, CBS, and NBC.
Salhany resigned from FOX in July 1994 and became the president
and chief executive officer of the nascent United Paramount Network
(UPN) where she supervised the broadcast inauguration of the network
in January 1995.
In the history of American television broadcasting there had been
no previous female managers who had shattered the "glass ceiling"
barrier to the senior executive suite. Salhany started her career
in programming at the station level in Cleveland in 1967, and by
1979 she had become vice president for programming for the Taft
Broadcasting Company. She moved to Paramount Domestic Television
in Los Angeles as president in 1985 and supervised the production
of Entertainment Tonight, The Arsenio Hall Show, Hard Copy,
and Star Trek: The Next Generation. The latter program, a
revival of the original television classic, was to become one of
the most successful syndicated programs in international broadcast
had acquired an insider's knowledge of television broadcast programming
at the station-level, and used this expertise to craft a number
of series that were highly salable in syndication. At the time of
the premiere of The Arsenio Hall Show, the program introduced
a number of innovations in talk show form and content--not the least
of which was the replacement of the traditional host-at-a-desk with
comfortable sofas allowing greater interaction between host and
was recruited from Paramount by FOX Broadcasting CEO Barry Diller
to manage Twentieth Television--the production and distribution
arm of the network--at a time when the parent company was becoming
a formidable competitor to the traditional big three networks. Salhany's
open management style was well received by FOX station affiliates,
and she was selected by Rupert Murdoch as head of FOX Broadcasting
after Diller's departure. However, the rapid growth of the network
came to a halt during the 1993-94 season as the number of viewers
declined and efforts to reach older viewers were not successful.
Salhany had championed the Chevy Chase Show in the late night
market, and her tenure at FOX was jeopardized when the program proved
to be a brief and expensive failure. Murdoch had increasingly taken
over hands-on management of his broadcast operations, and when he
proposed that Salhany report to him through an intermediary she
resigned and moved back to Paramount as they were about to launch
their UPN network.
Salhany is a perceptive television executive who understands the
intricacies of affiliate programming needs and network production
operations. Her success in syndicated programming at Paramount and
in operations at Twentieth Television enabled her to rise into the
rarefied, but often-tenuous, environment of senior network management.
Photo courtesy of Lucie Salhany
(LUCILLE) S. SALHANY. Married, two children. Began television
career as program director, WKBF-TV, Cleveland, 1967; program manager,
WLVI-TV, Boston, from 1975; vice president of television and cable
programming, Taft Broadcasting Co., 1979-85; president, Paramount
Domestic Television, Paramount Pictures, 1985-91; chair, Twentieth
Television (a division of FOX Broadcasting Company), 1991; chair,
FOX Broadcasting Company, 1993-94; named president and chief executive
officer, United Paramount Network, 1994. Honorary degree: doctorate
of humane letters, Emerson College, Boston, 1991. Member: board
of directors, Fox Inc.; board of directors, Emerson College; executive
committee, University of California, Los Angeles, School of Theater,
Film and Television; board, Academy of Television Arts and Sciences;
board, Hollywood Supports. Recipient: American Jewish Committee's
Sherrill C. Corwin Human Relations Award (first woman recipient),
1995; American Women in Radio & Television's Silver Satellite Award,
1995. Address: United Paramount Network, 5555 Melrose Avenue, Los
Angeles, California, 90038-3197, U.S.; 11800 Wilshire Boulevard,
Los Angeles, California 90025, U.S.A.
"Fox's Passionate Pro." Broadcasting & Cable (Washington,
D.C.), 1 March 1993.
Kathryn. "Madame Chairman." Forbes (New York), 5 August 1991.
D. "Fox's New Team at the Top." Broadcasting & Cable (Washington,
D.C.), 11 July 1994.
"The View from Atop Twentieth" (interview). Broadcasting (Washington,
D.C.) 21 January 1992.
See also Diller,
Broadcasting Company; Murdoch,