Stealing the Show

Joy Press

THE NEW GIRLS is the definitive cultural history of female showrunners, starting with Roseanne Barr in the 1980s to contemporary icons such as Lena Dunham. Amy Schumer, and Tina Fey.

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In recent years, the television landscape has seen the glorious rise of women to key positions of power within the industry, from writers to producers to directors. Successes like Shonda Rhimes’s Holy Trinity of shows as a producer—Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder—and critical darlings like Lena Dunham’s Girls, Jill Soloway’s Transparent and Jenji Kohan’s Orange Is the New Black have heralded a revolution and inspired women creators to put their smartest and boldest art onto screens everywhere.

But this wasn’t always the case. The story of how women were able to make their names in an often misogynistic and myopic industry is a decades-long journey full of challenges, hard work, heartbreak, and determination.

Starting with Roseanne Barr and Diane English with their now iconic shows, Roseanne and Murphy Brown respectively, Press shows us how strategic advocating for women in writers’ rooms, in producing discussions, and behind the camera as directors led to an inspiring new era for television drama.

Exhaustively researched and featuring insightful commentary and interviews from the key players involved, this book is the essential companion to what has become a game-changer in our culture.


Joy Press is the former pop culture editor of the Los Angeles Times, TV critic at The Village Voice, entertainment editor of Salon and co-author of The Sex Revolts: Gender, Rebellion and Rock’n’Roll. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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