Showrunners From Power, Veep, Louie & More at NYTF’s Creative Keynote Panel

Last night at the New York Television Festival creative keynote panel "Running the Show: A Big Picture Conversation on Creating for the Small Screen," Power showrunner Courtney Kemp Agboh expressed her frustration with gender politics in the entertainment industry.

“I’d like for it not to be a thing when there are a bunch of women showrunners,“ she said. “And also not for it to be pointed out all the time, like ‘Isn’t it great that you’re black and you’re a woman?’ Isn’t it great that the show’s good? Does it matter? I know I’m bringing it up now but I would love for it not to be a thing; for it just to be super normal that a person who runs a show can also not be male.”

The panel, which also included Louie’s Blair Breard, The Good Wife’s Michelle King, Madam Secretary’s Barbara Hall, VEEP’s Stephanie Laing and The Affair’s executive producer Anya Epstein, was held at the SVA Theatre and hosted by New York magazine’s Margaret Lyons.

King pointed out: “I don’t think this was advertised as an all-female panel which I think is fantastic because they don’t advertise it when it’s an all-male panel.”

Kemp Agboh’s statement was a response to a question directed to the panel asking what would you change about television right now if you could “wave a magic wand”?

Breard responded: “I would like to see more women who are not 25. I think older women do funny things and are interesting. And I put myself in that category of older women. I’d like to see them on TV and having real lives.”

Kemp Agboh went on to express her desire to see more diversity on TV in general, particularly LGBT content that isn’t only created by “LGBT folk”.

“One of the things I’ve learned is to just make the world look like the world looks. It doesn’t have to be about that to just have them in the world- the meanest f*cking drug dealer on my show is gay and it ain’t no thing. For television to look like the country would be awesome.”

Featured image: Executive producers from some of television’s top shows addressed attendees during the 11th Annual New York Television Festival on October 20, 2015, at the SVA Theatre in New York City.  Pictured left to right: Stephanie Laing (VEEP, Vice Principals), Michelle King (The Good Wife), Courtney KempAgboh (Power), Barbara Hall (Madam Secretary) and Anya Epstein (The Affair).  “Running the Show: A Big Picture Conversation on Creating for the Small Screen” was presented by the NYTVF in collaboration with the SAG Foundation and WGA East.  Photo Credit: Lauren Caulk/NYTVF


Alice Wasley

Alice Wasley is a freelance writer based in Sydney. When she’s not watching as many movies as she can get away with, she writes for a range of publications including GQ Australia and Marie Claire Australia. You can follow her on Instagram: @alicewasley or visit her website: