Anne Nelson

Executive


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In her three-hour interview, Anne Nelson (1922-2009) talks about her early life, and her first job at CBS in the sales department, starting in 1942. She describes working at CBS Radio in the 1940s, and working with chairman William S. Paley as the first female executive at the network. She recounts putting together some of the first television contracts ever drawn up, for stars including Jack Benny and Ed Wynn, and how her department was organized. Nelson talks about her involvement in the business end of many early CBS shows, including Gunsmoke, I Love Lucy, and Perry Mason, as well as having to deal with the Hollywood Blacklist. She outlines rising through the ranks in business affairs at CBS, eventually becoming a vice-president, while dealing with powerhouse talent like Norman Lear, Judy Garland, Carol Burnett and her friend Red Skelton. She sums up with advice to aspiring executives, and sharing how she would like to be remembered. Henry Colman conducted the interview on July 25, 1999 in Los Angeles, CA. 

"I went to work for CBS in 1942 for a two-week job. Nobody ever told me I was permanent, but I stayed anyway. And here I am 55 years later!"

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Anne Nelson on helping put together the deal for The Ed Wynn Show
Anne Nelson on the production of The Ed Wynn Show coming out of Studio A at CBS on Sunset Boulevard
Anne Nelson on negotiating contracts for CBS in the '60s, including for The Judy Garland Show and The Carol Burnett Show
Anne Nelson on her working relationship with Norman Lear
Anne Nelson on the creation of CBS Television City, and on movie studios' reaction to television
Anne Nelson on doing the deal for Gunsmoke
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On her early life and influences; on radio she listened to while growing up, and on going to the movies; on working on the syndicated comic strip "Strange as it Seems"
On going to work for CBS in 1942 in sales; on working with bandleader Kay Kyser on a benefit; on working with various stars at CBS Radio

Chapter 2

On working at CBS Radio in the 1940s, and on William S. Paley raiding NBC's talent; on CBS Radio during World War II, and on content concerns; on being the first female CBS executive
On moving stars like Ed Wynn and Jack Benny to television, and on her earliest experiences seeing television; on helping put together the deal for The Ed Wynn Show; on the production of The Ed Wynn Show coming out of Studio A at CBS on Sunset Blvd
On becoming the first female executive at CBS, and the difficulties she encountered getting there; on negotiating talent contracts for CBS, and on how her department was organized

Chapter 3

On radio's "My Favorite Husband" starring Lucille Ball, and on the creation of I Love Lucy; on the creation of CBS Television City, and on movie studios' reaction to television; on Frank Stanton, and on her office at Television City
On the Hollywood Blacklist; on being promoted though the ranks of CBS business affairs, and eventually moving from radio to television; on doing the deals for Gunsmoke and Perry Mason

Chapter 4

On working in business affairs at CBS in the late 1950, and on working with executive James T. Aubrey; on negotiating contracts for CBS in the 1960s, including for The Judy Garland Show and The Carol Burnett Show
On her style of negotiation, and on the challenges of being a female in business affairs in her era; on how contracts have changed since she started in the industry, and on working with Norman Lear; on networks losing power and money over losing ownership of shows in the 1970s
On the advent of packaging in television, and on the power of talent agencies; on dealing with performers and contract disputes

Chapter 5

On dealing with unions and strikes; on The Red Skelton Show; on how the advent of videotape changed the business
On Hawaii Five-O; on working with MTM productions, and Grant Tinker; on her working relationship with Norman Lear
On becoming director of talent administration at CBS, and on the retirement of Frank Stanton; on how the industry has changed since she started; on being director of talent and program acquisition for CBS

Chapter 6

On the success of CBS during her tenure, and on working with Laurence Tisch; on being senior director of business affairs at CBS, starting in 1989; on career highlights and regrets
On being a female television executive in her era; on advice to aspiring television executives, and on the then-current state of television; on how she would like to be remembered
Anne Nelson on various people she worked with in her career
Shows

Carol Burnett Show, The (1967-78)

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Anne Nelson on negotiating contracts for CBS in the 1960s, including for The Judy Garland Show and The Carol Burnett Show

Ed Wynn Show, The

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Anne Nelson on moving stars like Ed Wynn and Jack Benny to television, and on her earliest experiences seeing television
Anne Nelson on helping put together the deal for The Ed Wynn Show
Anne Nelson on the production of The Ed Wynn Show coming out of Studio A at CBS on Sunset Boulevard live, and the technological advances in television

Gunsmoke

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Anne Nelson on doing the deal for Gunsmoke, starring James Arness

Hawaii Five-O

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Anne Nelson on Hawaii Five-O

I Love Lucy

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Anne Nelson on radio's "My Favorite Husband," starring Lucille Ball, and on the creation of I Love Lucy

Jack Benny Program, The

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Anne Nelson on moving stars like Ed Wynn and Jack Benny to television, and on her earliest experiences seeing television

Judy Garland Show, The

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Anne Nelson on negotiating contracts for CBS in the 1960s, including for The Judy Garland Show and The Carol Burnett Show

Perry Mason

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Anne Nelson on doing the deal for Perry Mason, starring Raymond Burr

Red Skelton Show, The

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Anne Nelson on The Red Skelton Show, and on her friendship with Skelton
Topics

Advice

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Anne Nelson on advice to aspiring television executives, and on the then-current state of television

Creative Influences and Inspiration

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Anne Nelson on her mentor, Ernie Martin, and on working for CBS Radio

Diversity in Television

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Anne Nelson on becoming the first female executive at CBS, and the difficulties she encountered getting there
Anne Nelson on her style of negotiation, and on the challenges of being a female in business affairs in her era
Anne Nelson on being a female television executive

Historic Events and Social Change

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Anne Nelson on CBS Radio during World War II, and on content concerns
Anne Nelson on becoming the first female executive at CBS, and the difficulties she encountered getting there
Anne Nelson on her style of negotiation, and on the challenges of being a female in business affairs in her era
Anne Nelson on being a female television executive in her era

Hollywood Blacklist

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Anne Nelson on the Hollywood Blacklist

Industry Crossroads

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Anne Nelson on the Hollywood Blacklist
Anne Nelson on dealing with unions and strikes

Industry Strikes

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Anne Nelson on dealing with unions and strikes

Pivotal Career Moments

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Anne Nelson on her mentor, Ernie Martin, and on working for CBS Radio

Technological Innovation

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Anne Nelson on how the advent of videotape changed the business

Television Industry

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Anne Nelson on the Hollywood Blacklist
Anne Nelson on networks losing power and money by losing ownership of shows in the 1970s
Anne Nelson on the advent of packaging in television, and on the power of talent agencies
Anne Nelson on how the industry has changed since she started
Anne Nelson on dealing with unions and strikes
Anne Nelson on advice to aspiring television executives, and on the then-current state of television

War

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Anne Nelson on CBS Radio during World War II, and on content concerns

Women

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Anne Nelson on becoming the first female executive at CBS, and the difficulties she encountered getting there
Anne Nelson on her style of negotiation, and on the challenges of being a female in business affairs in her era
Anne Nelson on being a female television executive

World War II

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Anne Nelson on CBS Radio during World War II, and on content concerns
Professions

Executives

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Anne Nelson on being the first female CBS executive
Anne Nelson on negotiating talent contracts for CBS, and on how her department was organized
Anne Nelson on being promoted though the ranks of CBS business affairs, and eventually moving from radio to television
Anne Nelson on negotiating contracts for CBS in the 1960s, including for The Judy Garland Show and The Carol Burnett Show
Anne Nelson on her style of negotiation, and on the challenges of being a female in business affairs in her era
Anne Nelson on how contracts have changed since she started in the industry, and on working with Norman Lear
Anne Nelson on dealing with performers and contract disputes
Anne Nelson on dealing with unions and strikes
Anne Nelson on becoming director of talent administration at CBS, and on the retirement of Frank Stanton
Anne Nelson on being director of talent and program acquisition for CBS
Anne Nelson on the success of CBS during her tenure, and on working with Larry Tisch
Anne Nelson on being senior director of business affairs at CBS, starting in 1989, and later a vice president
Anne Nelson on advice to aspiring television executives, and on the then-current state of television

Television Executive

View Profession
Anne Nelson on being the first female CBS executive
Anne Nelson on negotiating talent contracts for CBS, and on how her department was organized
Anne Nelson on being promoted though the ranks of CBS business affairs, and eventually moving from radio to television
Anne Nelson on negotiating contracts for CBS in the 1960s, including for The Judy Garland Show and The Carol Burnett Show
Anne Nelson on her style of negotiation, and on the challenges of being a female in business affairs in her era
Anne Nelson on how contracts have changed since she started in the industry, and on working with Norman Lear
Anne Nelson on dealing with performers and contract disputes
Anne Nelson on dealing with unions and strikes
Anne Nelson on becoming director of talent administration at CBS, and on the retirement of Frank Stanton
Anne Nelson on being director of talent and program acquisition for CBS
Anne Nelson on the success of CBS during her tenure, and on working with Laurence Tisch
Anne Nelson on being senior director of business affairs at CBS, starting in 1989
Anne Nelson on advice to aspiring television executives, and on the then-current state of television
Genres

Comedy Series

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Anne Nelson on radio's "My Favorite Husband," starring Lucille Ball, and on the creation of I Love Lucy

Cop/Detective/Mystery Series

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Anne Nelson on Hawaii Five-O

Legal Dramas

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Anne Nelson on doing the deal for Perry Mason, starring Raymond Burr

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

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Anne Nelson on helping put together the deal for The Ed Wynn Show
Anne Nelson on negotiating contracts for CBS in the 1960s, including for The Judy Garland Show and The Carol Burnett Show
Anne Nelson on The Red Skelton Show

Western Series

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Anne Nelson on doing the deal for Gunsmoke
People

James Arness

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Anne Nelson on doing the deal for Gunsmoke, starring James Arness

James T. Aubrey

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Anne Nelson on working in business affairs at CBS in the late 1950, and on working with executive James T. Aubrey

Lucille Ball

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Anne Nelson on radio's "My Favorite Husband," starring Lucille Ball, and on the creation of I Love Lucy

Jack Benny

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Anne Nelson on moving stars like Ed Wynn and Jack Benny to television, and on her earliest experiences seeing television
Anne Nelson on Jack Benny

Fanny Brice

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Anne Nelson on Fanny Brice

George Burns

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Anne Nelson on George Burns

Raymond Burr

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Anne Nelson on doing the deal for Perry Mason, starring Raymond Burr

Jimmy Durante

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Anne Nelson on Jimmy Durante

Judy Garland

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Anne Nelson on negotiating contracts for CBS in the 1960s, including for The Judy Garland Show and The Carol Burnett Show

Kay Kyser

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Anne Nelson on working with bandleader Kay Kyser on a benefit

Norman Lear

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Anne Nelson on how contracts have changed since she started in the industry, and on working with Norman Lear
Anne Nelson on her working relationship with Norman Lear

William S. Paley

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Anne Nelson on working at CBS Radio in the 1940s, and on William S. Paley raiding NBC's talent
Anne Nelson on William S. Paley

Frank Sinatra

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Anne Nelson on Frank Sinatra

Frank Stanton

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Anne Nelson on Frank Stanton, and on her office at Television City
Anne Nelson on becoming director of talent administration at CBS, and on the retirement of Frank Stanton

Grant Tinker

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Anne Nelson on working with MTM productions, and Grant Tinker

Laurence A. Tisch

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Anne Nelson on the success of CBS during her tenure, and on working with Laurence A. Tisch

Ed Wynn

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Anne Nelson on moving stars like Ed Wynn and Jack Benny to television, and on her earliest experiences seeing television

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