6 Legendary Female TV Personalities

In a male-dominated industry, the following six women broke new ground. Some worked hard to create exciting programmes, some spotlighted taboo subjects, and some were the first of their kind. We pay tribute to these six women for their strength and courage and for their work in changing the television landscape forever. It’s hard to imagine just what the television industry and today’s shows would be without them.

Lucille Ball

Lucile Ball was undoubtedly, and famously, a genius when it came to comedy. She was also, however, one of the industry’s most successful ever executives. By having her hit TV show, I Love Lucy, filmed on quality tape, as opposed to being broadcast live, she helped to invent syndication.

In 1962, Ball became the very first woman to head a major TV studio after buying out Desi Arnaz, her ex-husband, out of Desilu Productions. The firm later produced such hits as Star Trek and Mission Impossible. Ball starred in a number of other successful shows including The Lucy Show, Here’s Lucy, and We Love Lucy.

Mary Tyler Moore

Moore’s eponymous, award-winning show was among the very first to feature asophisticated, smart, and career-led woman who refused to depend on men. The show was also received well by the critics, to go with its high ratings, which made the subject matter a success. Mary Richards was an important role model at a time when women were entering the workforce. The Mary Tyler Moore show spawned three spin-off show: Rhoda, Lou Grant, and Phylis.

Bea Arthur

Arthur was one of television’s most unapologetic feminists, having played leading roles on two groundbreaking shows. Maude was a breakout hit and was unafraid to take on some of the more taboo subjects of the decade. Some of those subjects are even risky today. In the 1980’s Golden Girls, Arthur and her costars, which included Betty White, proved that women could keep on going, regardless of age.

Barbara Walters

Walters took on sexism in the television news industry and became The Today Show’s first female co-anchor. She later achieved the same distinction on ABC Evening News. She grew to become the most respected journalist on the network until she retired in 2014. Every woman working in the industry can thank Walters for her success, from Diane Sawyer to Oprah Winfrey. Speaking of which…

Oprah Winfrey

It’s impossible not to include Oprah on a list like this. She’s television’s most successful woman, having taken a local talk show and building a media empire on top of it. Oprah became the very first black female billionaire and is the country’s richest self-made woman.

Carol Burnett

At a time when men such as Milton Berle and Bob Hope dominated comedy, Carol Burnett came through with a critically acclaimed and hugely popular sketch comedy show. The Carol Burnett Show scored millions of fans who tuned in on a weekly basis. It also won numerous Emmy Awards.  Burnett inspired a countless number of comedians of both genders- a departure from gender norms in comedy.