Stealing the Show
How Women Are Revolutionizing Television
by Joy Press
Pub Date 06 Mar 2018
Female writers, directors, and producers have radically transformed the television industry in recent years. Shonda Rhimes, Lena Dunham, Tina Fey, Amy Schumer, Mindy Kaling: These extraordinary women have shaken up the entertainment landscape, making it look like an equal opportunity dream factory.
But things weren't always this rosy. It took decades of determination in the face of preconceived ideas and outright prejudice to reach this new era. In this endlessly informative and wildly entertaining book, veteran journalist Joy Press tells the story of the maverick women who broke through the barricades, starting with Roseanne Barr (Roseanne) and Diane English (Murphy Brown), whose iconic shows redefined America’s idea of “family values” and incited controversy that reached as far as the White House.
Barr and English inspired the next generation of female TV writers and producers to carve out the creative space and executive power needed to present radically new representations of women on the small screen. Showrunners like Amy Sherman Palladino (Gilmore Girls), Jenji Kohan (Weeds, Orange Is the New Black), and Jill Soloway (Transparent) created characters and storylines that changed how women are seen and how they see themselves, in the process transforming the culture.
Stealing the Show is the perfect companion to such bestsellers as Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Tina Fey’s Bossypants, and Shonda Rhimes’ Year of Yes¸ not to mention Sheila Weller’s Girls Like Us and Rebecca Traister’s All the Single Ladies. Drawing on deep research and interviews with the key players, this is the exhilarating behind-the-scenes story of a truly groundbreaking revolution in television.
Praise for STEALING THE SHOW
“Please read this book immediately. It is sharp, funny, and gorgeously researched, a satisfying blend of inside dirt and critical illumination. It also places female creativity on television exactly where it belongs: dead center in the cultural conversation.”
– Emily Nussbaum, television critic for The New Yorker
“Joy Press’s Stealing the Show is essential reading for anyone interested in women gaining power, in how edgy storytelling comes to screens, and in brilliantly talented females taking the reins of a once-derided-as-secondary-to-movies medium during its current multi-platform explosion. It’s a page-turner that – between emergency-amped-up feminism in the age of Trump and the digitalization of....well, everything – comes at a perfect time. Shonda, Lena, Jenji, Jill, et al are the hipster powerhouses driving a new bold, wacky, humane presentation of women’s truths and images, many too-long hidden or too-long shamed. I relished their stories – and was inspired by them, too.”
– Sheila Weller, author of the New York Times bestseller Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon – and the Journey of a Generation and The News Sorority: Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric, Christiane Amanpour – and the Triumph of Women in TV News
“A roaring tour of women’s professional, artistic, and political impact on television and on popular culture. By turns invigorating and sobering, Stealing the Show maps the progress of the expanded voice, vision, and reach of women on television and behind its scenes.”
– Rebecca Traister, New York Times-bestselling author of All the Single Ladies and Big Girls Don’t Cry