Celebrating women in television: Lillah McCarthy

By: Start TV Staff     Posted: September 20, 2019, 6:00AM

Lillah McCarthy was a television actress before making the transition into production after landing a job as a program executive at ABC Entertainment. In her interview with StartTV, McCarthy says “I was one of the few executives who came into the business from being an actress, from being around actors and writers, as opposed to coming in through the business side.”

McCarthy went on to hold an executive position at Fox, where she was on the team that helped shepherd The Simpsons. At Sony Pictures TV, McCarthy executive produced the Kyle Chandler CBS drama Early Edition. She then spent 12 years at TBS and TNT, where she was one of the guiding forces behind the creation of The Closer, starring Kyra Sedgwick as Brenda Leigh Johnson, one of the most iconic female detectives on television. The Closer was nominated for seven Emmys, winning one.

“I developed not only The Closer but also Saving Grace, which starred Holly Hunter, and then we developed Rizzoli and Isles, which has two female leads,” McCarthy enthused while speaking to StartTV. “So we were really, really proud of ourselves for being the people who got these women in leadership positions. Now everybody does it, but at the time nobody was doing it.”

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