Lauren Zalaznick

Executive


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In her five-hour interview, Lauren Zalaznick talks about her early years, and choosing the entertainment industry over a possible career as a doctor. She describes working on several feature films, including “Compromising Positions,” “Kids,” and Todd Haynes’ “Safe.” She chronicles her years working on promos for MTV Networks, which led to a position as vice president in charge of promotion, where she was charged with completely rebranding VH1. She recounts the changes she brought to VH1, including programming Pop Up Video, VH1 Fashion Awards, and The RuPaul Show. She recalls a brief stint at AMC, after which she created the Trio network, where she developed the acclaimed Brilliant But Cancelled series. Zalaznick discusses being brought in to rebrand Bravo, and details the various series she developed there, including Project Runway, Top Chef, The Real Housewives of Orange County, and Watch What Happens Live. She also speaks of changes she brought to Oxygen and Telemundo, including acquiring the World Cup telecasts and how she has utilized new media as a marketing tool. She concludes by discussing her Internet newsletter LZ Sunday Paper, and what she might do in the future. Jenni Matz conducted the interview on May 9, 2018 in New York, NY.

"At the time, we talked about what made Bravo work very specifically. It was brain-on reality, as opposed to brain-off, take-me-out-of-this-world reality. We were literally talking about engaged viewers who were lean forward viewers, not the lean back, pass the time, just get me to eleven o’clock and I can fall asleep. Bravo was just passionate, leaned-in reality."

Highlights
Lauren Zalaznick on becoming vice president of on-air promotion at MTV
06:15
Lauren Zalaznick on an incident with The RuPaul Show producers Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato
06:57
Lauren Zalaznick on dealing with the initial low ratings for Project Runway on Bravo
09:22
Lauren Zalaznick on artists' reaction to Pop Up Video, and on where the factoids came from for the show
05:26
Lauren Zalaznick on developing The Real Housewives of Orange County for Bravo
07:25
Lauren Zalaznick on the experience of creating and branding the Trio network
04:27
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On her early life and influences; on television she watched growing up; on watching the Watergate hearings as a child
07:51
On deciding to get into the entertainment field; on working on her first feature film, "Compromising Positions"; on what appealed to her about working in the entertainment industry
15:34
On her decision to become a producer; on making the transition from feature films to television via making promos for MTV; on becoming vice president of on-air promotion at MTV Networks; on completely redesigning VH1
20:49
On transitioning from being an executive to being a producer for VH1 shows; on the creation of Pop Up Video for VH1; on what makes a good producing team
13:38
On producing the VH1 Fashion Awards, and on changes made to the show from 1995 to 1996; on developing The RuPaul Show
09:25

Chapter 2

On diversifying the genres on VH1; on her programming strategy for VH1; on an incident with The RuPaul Show producers Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato
13:22
On her decision to leave VH1, and on her experiences on 9/11; on consulting for AMC Networks, and on deciding to head up the Trio network
10:54
On the experience of creating and branding the Trio network; on programming the Trio network; on what she learned about programming as the head of Trio
17:07
On television and society, and on how television tends to reflect the national psyche (the topic of her 2011 TED Talk)
10:35
On being tapped by Jeff Zucker to lead the Bravo network in the wake of the NBC/Universal merger; on the challenge of building on the success of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy as head of Bravo, and on shows she programmed early in her tenure there
10:04

Chapter 3

On the impact Queer Eye for the Straight Guy had on Bravo's programming; on creating a marketing strategy when she started at Bravo, and on creating the logo; on Battle of the Network Reality Stars
13:50
On Project Greenlight, and on developing Project Runway; on dealing with the initial low ratings for Project Runway on Bravo
14:09
On developing The Real Housewives of Orange County for Bravo; on expanding The Real Housewives franchise while still developing The Real Housewives of Orange County; on the importance of casting strong personalities for Bravo's reality programming, and "fake" reality
19:21
On using the Internet as a marketing tool for Bravo's programming, and on the "watch what happens" slogan; on developing Top Chef for Bravo; on the importance of passion for one's occupation on Bravo's reality shows
09:53
On how losing Project Runway impacted Bravo, and on Top Chef becoming their signature show; on the Bravo audience demographics; on how Bravo's brand stands apart
14:04

Chapter 4

On Watch What Happens Live with host Andy Cohen; on the ways in which audiences are consuming content via new media, and how that has impacted Bravo; on programming scripted series for Bravo
18:35
On the challenges of taking over Telemundo, and bringing the World Cup to the network; on heading up the Oxygen network, and on The Bad Girls Club; on the Oxygen series Snapped and The Glee Project
11:41
On being President of NBC/Universal Women and Lifestyle Entertainment Networks; on targeting women as a demographic as President of NBC/Universal Women and Lifestyle Entertainment Networks; on how things have changed for women in television since she started, and on the then-future of women in television
14:50
On being a board member at GoPro, and her then-current projects; on the then-current state of television; on her favorite parts and biggest challenges of her jobs at NBC/Universal
09:01
On her website/newsletter LZ Sunday Paper; on how the television industry has changed since she began; on what she has loved most about television and her jobs in it
10:39
On valuable advice she has received, and on her advice to aspiring television executives; on the value of oral histories like The Interviews
05:21
On career achievements, future goals, and regrets; on how she would like to be remembered
08:28
Shows

Bad Girls Club, The

View Show Page
Lauren Zalaznick on heading up the Oxygen network, and on The Bad Girls Club
04:25

Battle of the Network Reality Stars

View Show Page
Lauren Zalaznick on Battle of the Network Reality Stars
01:57

Battle of the Network Stars

View Show Page
Lauren Zalaznick on Battle of the Network Reality Stars (a takeoff on Battle of the Network Stars)
01:57

Glee

View Show Page
Lauren Zalaznick on the Oxygen series Snapped and The Glee Project
03:04

Pop Up Video

View Show Page
Lauren Zalaznick on the creation of Pop Up Video for VH1
02:45
Lauren Zalaznick on artists' reaction to Pop Up Video, and on where the factoids came from for the show
05:26

Project Runway

View Show Page
Lauren Zalaznick on Project Greenlight, and on developing Project Runway
04:45
Lauren Zalaznick on dealing with the initial low ratings for Project Runway on Bravo
09:22
Lauren Zalaznick on how losing Project Runway impacted Bravo, and on Top Chef becoming their signature show
03:50

Queer Eye for the Straight Guy

View Show Page
Lauren Zalaznick on the challenge of building on the success of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy as head of Bravo, and on shows she programmed early in her tenure there
05:24
Lauren Zalaznick on the impact Queer Eye for the Straight Guy had on Bravo's programming
02:54

Real Housewives of Orange County, The

View Show Page
Lauren Zalaznick on developing The Real Housewives of Orange County for Bravo
07:25
Lauren Zalaznick on expanding The Real Housewives franchise while still developing The Real Housewives of Orange County
04:58

RuPaul Show, The

View Show Page
Lauren Zalaznick on developing The RuPaul Show
04:14
Lauren Zalaznick on an incident with The RuPaul Show producers Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato
06:56

Snapped

View Show Page
Lauren Zalaznick on the Oxygen series Snapped and The Glee Project
03:04

Top Chef

View Show Page
Lauren Zalaznick on developing Top Chef for Bravo
04:27
Lauren Zalaznick on how losing Project Runway impacted Bravo, and on Top Chef becoming their signature show
03:50
Lauren Zalaznick on the digital, online element of Top Chef
01:27

VH1 Fashion Awards

View Show Page
Lauren Zalaznick on producing the VH1 Fashion Awards, and on changes made to the show from 1995 to 1996
05:11

Watch What Happens Live

View Show Page
Lauren Zalaznick on Watch What Happens Live with host Andy Cohen
07:37
Topics

'The Idiot Box'

View Topic
Lauren Zalaznick on television and society, and how television tends to reflect the national psyche (the topic of her 2011 TED Talk)
10:35

9/11

View Topic
Lauren Zalaznick on her experiences on 9/11
03:01

Advice

View Topic
Lauren Zalaznick on valuable advice she has received, and on her advice to aspiring television executives
02:47

Criticism of TV

View Topic
Lauren Zalaznick on television and society, and how television tends to reflect the national psyche (the topic of her 2011 TED Talk)
10:35

Diversity in Television

View Topic
Lauren Zalaznick on how things have changed for women in television since she started, and on the then-future of women in television
02:53

First Big Break

View Topic
Lauren Zalaznick on working on her first feature film, "Compromising Positions"
08:49

Historic Events and Social Change

View Topic
Lauren Zalaznick on her experiences on 9/11
03:01
Lauren Zalaznick on how things have changed for women in television since she started, and on the then-future of women in television
02:53

Media Consolidation

View Topic
Lauren Zalaznick on being tapped by Jeff Zucker to lead the Bravo network in the wake of the NBC/Universal merger
04:36

Network Creation

View Topic
Lauren Zalaznick on the experience of creating and branding the Trio network
04:26
Lauren Zalaznick on programming the Trio network
07:44
Lauren Zalaznick on what she learned about programming as the head of Trio
04:55

New Media

View Topic
Lauren Zalaznick on using the Internet as a marketing tool for Bravo's programming, and on the "watch what happens" slogan
03:50
Lauren Zalaznick on the ways in which audiences are consuming content via new media, and how that has impacted Bravo
05:23
Lauren Zalaznick on being a board member at GoPro, and her then-current projects
03:08

Pivotal Career Moments

View Topic
Lauren Zalaznick on working on her first feature film, "Compromising Positions"
08:49

Richard M. Nixon

View Topic
Lauren Zalaznick on watching the Watergate hearings as a child
01:33

Studio and Network Management

View Topic
Lauren Zalanzick on diversifying the genres on VH1
03:43
Lauren Zalaznick on programming the Trio network
07:44
Lauren Zalaznick on what she learned about programming as the head of Trio
04:55
Lauren Zalaznick on the challenge of building on the success of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy as head of Bravo, and on shows she programmed early in her tenure there
05:24
Lauren Zalaznick on creating a marketing strategy when she started at Bravo, and on creating the logo
09:00

Television Industry

View Topic
Lauren Zalaznick on the experience of creating and branding the Trio network
04:26
Lauren Zalaznick on programming the Trio network
07:44
Lauren Zalaznick on what she learned about programming as the head of Trio
04:55
Lauren Zalaznick on being tapped by Jeff Zucker to lead the Bravo network in the wake of the NBC/Universal merger
04:36
Lauren Zalaznick on an incident with The RuPaul Show producers Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato
06:56
Lauren Zalaznick on her decision to leave VH1, and on her experiences on 9/11
05:55
Lauren Zalaznick on television and society, and how television tends to reflect the national psyche (the topic of her 2011 TED Talk)
10:35
Lauren Zalanzick on diversifying the genres on VH1
03:43
Lauren Zalaznick on being tapped by Jeff Zucker to lead the Bravo network in the wake of the NBC/Universal merger
04:36
Lauren Zalaznick on the challenge of building on the success of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy as head of Bravo, and on shows she programmed early in her tenure there
05:24
Lauren Zalaznick on using the Internet as a marketing tool for Bravo's programming, and on the "watch what happens" slogan
03:50
Lauren Zalaznick on creating a marketing strategy when she started at Bravo, and on creating the logo
09:00
Lauren Zalaznick on the ways in which audiences are consuming content via new media, and how that has impacted Bravo
05:23
Lauren Zalaznick on being a board member at GoPro, and her then-current projects
03:08
Lauren Zalaznick on the then-current state of television
03:33
Lauren Zalaznick on how the television industry has changed since she began
02:48
Lauren Zalaznick on valuable advice she has received, and on her advice to aspiring television executives
02:47

Television and the Presidency

View Topic
Lauren Zalaznick on watching the Watergate hearings as a child
01:33

Women

View Topic
Lauren Zalaznick on how things have changed for women in television since she started, and on the then-future of women in television
02:53
Professions

Executives

View Profession
Lauren Zalaznick on completely rebranding VH1
06:02
Lauren Zalaznick on her programming strategy for VH1
02:40
Lauren Zalaznick on programming the Trio network
12:40
Lauren Zalaznick on the challenge of building on the success of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy as head of Bravo, and on shows she programmed early in her tenure there
05:24
Lauren Zalaznick on creating a marketing strategy when she started at Bravo, and on creating the logo
09:00
Lauren Zalaznick on the importance of casting strong personalities for Bravo's reality programming, and "fake" reality
06:57
Lauren Zalaznick on the importance of passion for one's occupation on Bravo's reality shows
01:45
Lauren Zalaznick on the Bravo audience demographics
02:33
Lauren Zalaznick on how Bravo's brand stands apart
06:10
Lauren Zalaznick on programming scripted series for Bravo
03:01
Lauren Zalaznick on what she feels is her biggest contribution to Bravo
02:22
Lauren Zalaznick on the challenges of taking over Telemundo, and bringing the World Cup to the network
04:11
Lauren Zalaznick on heading up the Oxygen network, and on The Bad Girls Club
Lauren Zalaznick on being President of NBC/Universal Women and Lifestyle Entertainment Networks
04:38
Lauren Zalaznick on targeting women as a demographic as President of NBC/Universal Women and Lifestyle Entertainment Networks
07:19
Lauren Zalaznick on her favorite parts and biggest challenges of her jobs at NBC/Universal
02:00
Lauren Zalaznick on what she has loved most about television and her jobs in it
02:10
Lauren Zalaznick on valuable advice she has received, and on her advice to aspiring television executives
02:47

Producers

View Profession
Lauren Zalaznick on her decision to become a producer
04:42
Lauren Zalaznick on what makes a good producing team
01:24

Television Executive

View Profession
Lauren Zalaznick on completely rebranding VH1
06:02
Lauren Zalaznick on her programming strategy for VH1
02:40
Lauren Zalaznick on programming the Trio network
12:40
Lauren Zalaznick on the challenge of building on the success of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy as head of Bravo, and on shows she programmed early in her tenure there
05:24
Lauren Zalaznick on creating a marketing strategy when she started at Bravo, and on creating the logo
09:00
Lauren Zalaznick on the importance of casting strong personalities for Bravo's reality programming, and "fake" reality
06:57
Lauren Zalaznick on the importance of passion for one's occupation on Bravo's reality shows
01:45
Lauren Zalaznick on the Bravo audience demographics
02:33
Lauren Zalaznick on how Bravo's brand stands apart
06:10
Lauren Zalaznick on programming scripted series for Bravo
03:01
Lauren Zalaznick on what she feels is her biggest contribution to Bravo
02:22
Lauren Zalaznick on the challenges of taking over Telemundo, and bringing the World Cup to the network
04:12
Lauren Zalaznick on heading up the Oxygen network, and on The Bad Girls Club
04:25
Lauren Zalaznick on being President of NBC/Universal Women and Lifestyle Entertainment Networks
04:38
Lauren Zalaznick on targeting women as a demographic as President of NBC/Universal Women and Lifestyle Entertainment Networks
07:19
Lauren Zalaznick on her favorite parts and biggest challenges of her jobs at NBC/Universal
02:00
Lauren Zalaznick on what she has loved most about television and her jobs in it
02:10
Lauren Zalaznick on valuable advice she has received, and on her advice to aspiring television executives
02:47
Genres

Awards Shows

View Genre
Lauren Zalaznick on producing the VH1 Fashion Awards, and on changes made to the show from 1995 to 1996
05:11

Commercials

View Genre
Lauren Zalaznick on making the transition from feature films to television via making promos for MTV
10:04

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

View Genre
Lauren Zalaznick on the creation of Pop Up Video for VH1
09:35

Reality TV

View Genre
Lauren Zalaznick on the challenge of building on the success of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy as head of Bravo, and on shows she programmed early in her tenure there
05:24
Lauren Zalaznick on the impact Queer Eye for the Straight Guy had on Bravo's programming
02:54
Lauren Zalaznick on Battle of the Network Reality Stars
01:57
Lauren Zalaznick on Project Greenlight, and on developing Project Runway
14:09
Lauren Zalaznick on developing The Real Housewives of Orange County for Bravo
12:23
Lauren Zalaznick on developing Top Chef for Bravo
11:23
Lauren Zalaznick on heading up the Oxygen network, and on The Bad Girls Club
04:25
Lauren Zalaznick on the Oxygen series Snapped and The Glee Project
03:04

Talk Shows

View Genre
Lauren Zalaznick on developing The RuPaul Show
04:14
Lauren Zalaznick on Watch What Happens Live with host Andy Cohen
07:37
People

RuPaul Charles

View Interview Page
Lauren Zalaznick on developing The RuPaul Show starring RuPaul Charles
04:14

Andy Cohen

View Interview Page
Lauren Zalaznick on Watch What Happens Live with host Andy Cohen
07:37

Jeff Zucker

View Interview Page
Lauren Zalaznick on being tapped by Jeff Zucker to lead the Bravo network in the wake of the NBC/Universal merger
04:36

All Interviews

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