Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

TV Producer Shares Tips on How Women Can Run the Show

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

TV Producer Shares Tips on How Women Can Run the Show

Article excerpt

In 1989, Meredith Bennett was a recent Yale graduate with a resume that included a college internship at an ABC affiliate in her home state of New Hampshire. Those two things, she thought, might give her a leg up when she moved to New York City and started applying for television jobs -- including one at a new syndicated news magazine called "Inside Edition."

"The funny thing is, the reason that the woman at the time hired me, she said, was because I had just run my first marathon and the position was 'production assistant/runner.' Back then, you really had to run physical tapes around the city," Bennett says on the phone. "So, I laughed, because I said, 'It's not because I went to a good college. It's not because I did this internship...' And she said, 'No, I think you're gonna be a good runner.' And that's how I started."

Bennett, a Ridgewood resident, has gone quite far since her "Inside Edition" runner days. Most recently as co-executive producer of "The Colbert Report" on Comedy Central, she now has that same title on CBS' upcoming "Late Show with Stephen Colbert," set to debut Sept. 8. And on Wednesday, Bennett will be one of the five "successful, inspiring and motivated women" taking part in a panel discussion at the "Women for Women Networking Event" in Teaneck. Presented by North Jersey Media Group's Exposure and (201) Magazine, the event will feature open networking followed by the panel discussion, moderated by (201) Magazine Editor Amelia Duggan. The other panelists include: Amber Sabathia, founder and CEO of CCandy; Denise Spell, chief technology innovator and CEO of Currant Inc.; Sarah Walton, founder of the online magazine Better Way Moms; and Anna Zornosa, founder and CEO of apparel company Ruby Ribbon.

"The reason I said yes to doing this panel is, I do really believe in women mentoring women every chance that I can get," Bennett says. "I think it's important."

During Bennett's five years at "Inside Edition," the show was hosted by Bill O'Reilly, a former CBS and ABC newsman who went on to become Fox News Channel's highest-rated host and most pugnacious personality. O'Reilly is also said to have inspired Colbert's faux conservative personality on "The Colbert Report."

Changing career path

"It's funny, because [O'Reilly] ended up coming on 'The Colbert Report' and when I went down to say hello, he said I used to work for him, and how was it to work on a show that made fun of him? This was in front of a lot of people. And I had to say it was pretty great. He had a good sense of humor about it."

At Yale, Bennett majored in American history, but during that TV- station internship she discovered she loved working in television. After "Inside Edition," she moved on to MTV, where she worked in the division that handles news and specials, including "Unplugged." Her subsequent credits include "The Rosie O'Donnell Show" and a variety of other programs (including one for The Food Network). …

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