Marlene Sanders

News Correspondent / Anchor


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In her three-hour Archive interview, Marlene Sanders (1931-2015) speaks about growing up in Cleveland where she developed an early interest in theatre. She discusses her move to New York City, where, after a series of odd jobs, she landed a job at WABD–TV. She talks about meeting Mike Wallace and being asked to work on his new show, Night Beat, which became a hit, and for which she served as associate producer. She chronicles her move to ABC News, where she became the second female correspondent, eventually anchoring a five-minute daytime news telecast as well as traveling to Vietnam in 1966 to cover the war. She details her history-making moments when anchor Ron Cochran came down with laryngitis and she was chosen to substitute for him, thus becoming the first woman to anchor an evening network newscast. Sanders then talks about her work as a producer of television documentaries for ABC in the 1970s.  She details her switch to the executive suites when she was named Vice President and Director of TV Documentaries for ABC News in 1976 — another first for a woman in television. She also discusses her subsequent move to CBS News where she served as a correspondent, producing and reporting for such series as CBS Reports and Sunday Morning with Charles Kuralt. She discusses leaving CBS in 1987 and working as a host on various WNET-TV programs, teaching aspiring journalists, and co-authoring an autobiographical book on women in television news. She also speaks about her work at the Discovery Channel and serving as narrator on HBO's popular Autopsy series. She concludes her interview with remarks about the state of women in television at the time of the interview. B-Roll includes career-spanning photos. Karen Herman conducted the interview in a joint venture with New York Women in Film and Television, on May 4, 2006 in New York, NY.

"I always said yes when anybody asked me, 'Can you do that?' Even if I didn't have a clue what I was supposed to do, I would say, 'Yeah, I can do that.'"

Highlights
Marlene Sanders on being the first woman to anchor an evening news broadcast (for one night)
02:23
Marlene Sanders on anchoring News With The Woman's Touch at ABC
01:30
Marlene Sanders on her proudest career achievement
00:46
Marlene Sanders on publishing the book "Waiting for Primetime" and her conclusions about women in broadcasting
02:31
Marlene Sanders on how she'd like to be remembered
00:30
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On her childhood and early influences; on her early interest in theatre; on being a tomboy; on attending Ohio State for one year
06:51
On working at the Cleveland Playhouse; on moving to New York; on her recollections of the Hollywood Blacklist and the first time she saw television; on her first job in television, odd jobs in the theatre, and meeting Mike Wallace
07:19
On her initial duties at news shows at WABD-TV; on the number of women in television when she started; on becoming an anonymous theatre critic
04:03
On her involvement with Night Beat; on booking guests for the show and working with Mike Wallace; on John Wingate replacing Mike Wallace
09:02

Chapter 2

On guests she booked on Night Beat - Jack Kerouac, W.E.B. Du Bois and others; on the fate of WABD-TV; on her work on documentaries and public affairs programs; on becoming a working mom
11:22
On getting hired on P.M. East-P.M. West; on joining the Writers Guild; on working at WNEW radio and getting on-air experience
03:11
On covering JFK's funeral and the Cuban Missile Crisis for radio
04:05
On becoming a female correspondent at ABC News; on the state of ABC News; on her news style and on-camera appearance when anchoring daytime news
09:30

Chapter 3

On working with a teleprompter and preparing for newscasts at ABC; on stories she covered in the early 1960s; on covering Civil Rights
04:39
On working with Peter Jennings and Frank Reynolds; on other female journalists at the time; on getting recognized by people; on working with Elmer Lower and Av Westin; on going to work in docmentaries
10:16
On covering Vietnam
12:06
On appearing as an anchor on the ABC Evening News
01:33

Chapter 4

On being the first woman to anchor an evening news broadcast (for one night) and later for three months; on more women entering the business and her role in the women's movement; on documentaries about women's rights
14:37
On ABC News Close-Up - the documentary division; on Av Westin replacing Tom Wolfe; on getting hired as VP/Director of Documentaries; on working with Roone Arledge and wanting to leave ABC
09:20
On her management style
01:25
On getting hired as a correspondent/producer for CBS News; on the atmosphere at CBS News; on her work at CBS Reports
02:38

Chapter 5

On working as a correspondent on Sunday Morning with Charles Kuralt
04:36
On appearing on The Friday Night News Break; on her time at CBS - not as happy as her time at ABC
04:54
On working for Channel 13 when she left CBS; on the show Metro Week in Review and 13 Live; on her 4-year run with Channel 13 and then doing Profiles in Progress
06:01
On narrating documentaries like Dances With Death; on her work on Autopsy
04:47
On where she was on 9/11; on her proudest career achievement; on career regrets and changes in TV news over the years
05:40
On publishing the book "Waiting for Primetime" and her conclusions about women in broadcasting
02:31

Chapter 6

On how she stays informed about current events; on advice to aspiring journalists; on advice for women in broadcast journalism
05:35
On New York Women in Film & Television; on how she'd like to be remembered
01:47
B-roll of photos from her career
05:01
Shows

CBS News

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Marlene Sanders getting hired as a correspondent/producer for CBS News; on the atmosphere at CBS News and differences between ABC and CBS News
02:38

CBS Reports

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Marlene Sanders on her work at CBS Reports
00:46

Night Beat

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Marlene Sanders on her involvement with Night Beat; on Mike Wallace developing his interview style
01:38
Marlene Sanders on some of the guests on Night Beat  and the process for booking talent
02:51
Marlene Sanders on working with Mike Wallace on Night Beat
Marlene Sanders on guests she booked on Night Beat
03:11

P.M. East-P.M. West

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Marlene Sanders on getting hired on P.M. East-P.M. West
01:42

Sunday Morning with Charles Kuralt

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Marlene Sanders on working as a correspondent on Sunday Morning with Charles Kuralt
02:49
Marlene Sanders on favorite pieces she worked on for Sunday Morning with Charles Kuralt; on working with Charles Kuralt
01:47
Topics

9/11

View Topic
Marlene Sanders on where she was on 9/11
00:35

Advertising and Sponsorship

View Topic
Marlene Sanders on the sponsor of WABD-TV news

Civil Rights Movement

View Topic
Marlene Sanders on hearing Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech first-hand in Washington D.C. during the March on Washington
01:28

Diversity in Television

View Topic
Marlene Sanders on the number of women in television when she started
00:57
Marlene Sanders on other female journalists when she came along
02:50
Marlene Sanders on being the first woman to anchor an evening news broadcast (for one night) and later for three months; on more women entering the business
04:29
Marlene Sanders on her role in the women's movement
10:08
Marlene Sanders on publishing the book "Waiting for Primetime" and her conclusions about women in broadcasting
02:31
Marlene Sanders on advice for women in broadcast journalism
01:33

Historic Events and Social Change

View Topic
Marlene Sanders on the number of women in television when she started
00:57
Marlene Sanders on covering JFK's assassination and the Cuban Missile Crisis
04:05
Marlene Sanders on hearing Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech first-hand in Washington D.C. during the March on Washington
01:28
Marlene Sanders on other female journalists when she came along
02:50
Marlene Sanders on being the first woman to anchor an evening news broadcast (for one night) and later for three months; on more women entering the business
04:29
Marlene Sanders on her role in the women's movement
10:08
Marlene Sanders on where she was on 9/11
01:10
Marlene Sanders on publishing the book "Waiting for Primetime" and her conclusions about women in broadcasting
02:31
Marlene Sanders on advice for women in broadcast journalism
01:33

Hollywood Blacklist

View Topic
Marlene Sanders on her recollections of the Hollywood Blacklist
00:29

Industry Crossroads

View Topic
Marlene Sanders on her recollections of the Hollywood Blacklist
00:29

JFK Assassination and Funeral

View Topic
Marlene Sanders on covering JFK's assassination and the Cuban Missile Crisis
04:05

Lyndon B. Johnson

View Topic
Marlene Sanders on co-anchoring LBJ's inauguration with Peter Jennings
01:00

Television Industry

View Topic
Marlene Sanders on her recollections of the Hollywood Blacklist
00:29
Marlene Sanders on the sponsor of WABD-TV news
00:18

Television and the Presidency

View Topic
Marlene Sanders on co-anchoring LBJ's inauguration with Peter Jennings
01:00

Women

View Topic
Marlene Sanders on the number of women in television when she started
00:57
Marlene Sanders on other female journalists when she came along
02:50
Marlene Sanders on being the first woman to anchor an evening news broadcast (for one night) and later for three months; on more women entering the business
04:29
Marlene Sanders on her role in the women's movement
10:08
Marlene Sanders on publishing the book "Waiting for Primetime" and her conclusions about women in broadcasting
02:31
Marlene Sanders on advice for women in broadcast journalism
01:33
Professions

Producers

View Profession
Marlene Sanders on her role as Associate Producer on Night Beat; on doing bookings for the show
01:55
Genres

News and Documentary

View Genre
Marlene Sanders on her duties at news shows at WABD-TV
01:00
Marlene Sanders on working on Night Beat
09:02
Marlene Sanders on becoming a female correspondent at ABC News; on the state of ABC News; on her news style and on-camera appearance when anchoring daytime news
09:30
Marlene Sanders on guests she booked on Night Beat - Jack Kerouac, W.E.B. Du Bois and others; on the fate of WABD-TV; on her work on documentaries and public affairs programs; on becoming a working mom
11:22
Marlene Sanders on working for ABC News
28:34
Marlene Sanders on her work at ABC News (contd.)
25:22
Marlene Sanders on her work at CBS News
02:38
Marlene Sanders on working for ABC News, Channel 13, narrating documentaries, and publishing the book "Waiting for Primetime"
28:29
Marlene Sanders on advice for women in broadcast journalism
01:33
People

Roone Arledge

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Marlene Sanders on working with Bill Sheehan and Roone Arledge
04:05

W. E. B. Du Bois

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Marlene Sanders on guests she booked on Night Beat - W.E.B. Du Bois
01:10

Pauline Frederick

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Marlene Sanders on other female journalists
02:50

Betty Friedan

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Marlene Sanders on her friendship with Betty Friedan
01:14

Lisa Howard

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Marlene Sanders on Lisa Howard getting involved in a political campaign and Sanders taking over as news anchor on News With The Woman's Touch at ABC
01:30

Peter Jennings

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Marlene Sanders on working with Peter Jennings at ABC
01:34

Lyndon B. Johnson

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Marlene Sanders on co-anchoring LBJ's inauguration with Peter Jennings
01:00

Jack Kerouac

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Marlene Sanders on guests she booked on Night Beat - Jack Kerouac
00:40

Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Marlene Sanders on hearing Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech first-hand in Washington D.C. during the March on Washington
01:28

Charles Kuralt

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Marlene Sanders on her interactions with Charles Kuralt on Sunday Morning with Charles Kuralt
00:31

Elmer Lower

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Marlene Sanders on working with Elmer Lower, President of ABC News, and Av Westin, and feeling discriminated against
03:49
Marlene Sanders on Elmer Lower and Tom Wolfe screening her documentaries about women's rights
01:39

Frank Reynolds

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Marlene Sanders on working with Frank Reynolds at ABC
00:30

Bill Sheehan

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Marlene Sanders on Bill Sheehan as head of the news department, and Sanders getting hired as VP/Director of Documentaries
02:05
Marlene Sanders on working with Bill Sheehan and Roone Arledge
01:15

Elaine Stritch

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Marlene Sanders on guests she booked on Night Beat - Elaine Stritch
00:51

Mike Wallace

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Marlene Sanders on her odd jobs while working at a theatre - picking up Mike Wallace
02:03
Marlene Sanders on her involvement with Night Beat; on Mike Wallace developing his interview style
01:38
Marlene Sanders on working with Mike Wallace and John Wingate on Night Beat
02:38

Av Westin

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Marlene Sanders on working with Elmer Lower, President of ABC News, and Av Westin, and feeling discriminated against
03:49
Marlene Sanders on Av Westin replacing Tom Wolfe
01:20

William Carlos Williams

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Marlene Sanders on guests she booked on Night Beat - William Carlos Williams
00:30

Tom Wolfe

View Person Page
Marlene Sanders on Elmer Lower and Tom Wolfe screening her documentaries about women's rights
01:39
Marlene Sanders on Av Westin replacing Tom Wolfe
01:20

Ted Yates

View Person Page
Marlene Sanders on her odd jobs while working at a theatre - picking up Mike Wallace and meeting Ted Yates through Wallace
02:03
Marlene Sanders on working with Ted Yates and Mike Wallace on Night Beat
00:44

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