She Made It: Women Creating Television and Radio, an ambitious three-year initiative of the Museum of Television @ Radio, officially launches Thursday, December 1st with the announcement of the 2005 honorees — 50 women who were pioneers in broadcasting fields. Among them are Marlo Thomas (who is also co-chairwoman of the initiative), Barbara Walters, Gertrude Berg, Ida Lupino, Sarah Jessica Parker, Lucille Ball, Agnes Nixon, Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric and Oprah Winfrey.
"It is a way to look at the history of radio and television, but in a different way," says museum curator Ron Simon. "When we researched the lives of these women, it is amazing what impact they had on various genres of radio and television and how much of it isn't recorded in the official textbook. We are trying to show the whole breadth and the different genres of these women both as creators and executives."
Over the next year the museum will offer screenings of work in which the honorees were involved. There also will be clips from museum seminars that the women have participated in, and the museum's radio listening room will spotlight their work. Over the course of the initiative, approximately 150 women will be honored.
"We are looking at Lucille Ball as the first woman president of a television company (Desilu), and what did that mean," says Simon. "We are trying to gather as much information as we can on what her struggles were like when she took it over. It will give people a different perspective."
Ball, adds Simon, also directed episodes — usually uncredited — of her series Here's Lucy, as well as several pilots. "That calls for more research in finding out the type of shows she chose and the episodes she directed. We want to work with her estate and maybe find some of these pilots in our collection."
The museum will hold seminar series on both coasts in support of She Made It.