New Yorkers! Television Producing Panel, Tuesday, November 17

Producing For Television-What Does It Mean?

Event: Tuesday Nov. 17, 2009, 6:30 p.m. 

Produced by Octavia Taylor for

New York Women in Film and Television

Email:    Phone: (212) 679-0870


Producing is the least understood job in television, with responsibilities that can vary widely. Some TV producers are responsible for bringing an entire project to life from concept through final broadcast or distribution; others play a valuable, though more limited role, as part of a larger team. This program will explore various types of producing jobs in television and show how they differ according to genre.

Moderator and NYWIFT member Lorisa Bates, Senior Director of Program Planning & Scheduling at Showtime Networks, is responsible for developing and executing programming strategies for the network, The Movie Channel (TMC) and its multi-plex (TMC Xtra). Bates develops programming franchises, creates the daily program schedule and collaborates with other departments to increase revenue via high definition and other emerging technologies. She also manages Showtime?s programming analyses which provide budgetary and competitive direction for the company. Bates began her career as an independent filmmaker and is currently producing her first feature film, Jimmie, about a young woman who must decide between her career and love.

Leah Harper joined Imagination, a global marketing communications company, as a Senior Production Manager in 2008, and has delivered events for such clients as Ford Motor Company, Shell and Land Rover. She began her career in 2001 as a production assistant and was hired by CBS Sports as a Production Manager for NFL games, the NCAA Tournament and Ski Events. After four years in sports, she began line producing music events for VH1, MTV, BET, CMT and ABC. In addition, Harper is the Founder and Director of Program Development for the not-for-profit Colorbars, a professional and social network established to support the advancement of all people of color working in media, entertainment and communication.

Brian Luvar, Producer/Director, began his career in 1994 with the video The World Is Yours for Nas. With such mentors such as Fab 5 Freddy, Paris Barclay and Hype Williams, Luvar created videos for the likes of New Edition, Missy Elliot, Gang Star, Black Street and Uncle Luke. He started the production companies Rebecca Film Works and 1884 Entertainment, before heading for Hollywood in 1998, where he landed jobs as a staff writer and segment producer on several syndicated shows. Luvar has penned three feature scripts and produced several TV award shows, as well as the award-winning documentary on hip hop From the Block to the Boardroom.

Erin Sax is an award-winning writer, director and producer who has co-produced films across the United States, in Europe and the Middle East. She has covered stories in mortuaries, insane asylums, men?s prisons and monasteries. As a non-fiction television director/producer, she has brought to the United States some of the most successful reality TV formats in the last ten years including What Not To Wear. She has worked for the BBC, ABC, TLC, and MTV as well as for ad companies McCann Erikson and clients PowerAde and X Box. Current shows include Making Over America with Trinny and Susannah, Sex With Mom and Dad, and One Week To Save Your Marriage.

Meghan Smith is a radio and television producer and Partner in Stealing SecondEntertainment, a NYC-based media company. Most recently, she served as the Location Producer for TLC’s Making Over America with Trinny & Susannah and as Executive Producer of the Mel Robbins Show. Prior to that, Meghan produced medical news for WNBC-TV and served as a Development Executive for Disney-ABC Television Group/Buena Vista Productions. While at Buena Vista Productions, she worked on syndicated hits such as LIVE with Regis and Kelly, Who Wants To Be a Millionaire and The Tony Danza Show, in addition to several original cable series.

Taigi Smith (pictured above) is currently a Producer at the CBS News program 48 Hours Mystery. For CBS News, she has reported on murder trials and entertainment news, in addition to serving as a Producer for CBS Evening News. Smith has also served as Vice President of Broadcast for the New York Association of Black Journalists, and is the editor of Sometimes Rhythm, Sometimes Blues: Young African Americans on Love, Relationships, Sex, and the Search for Mr. Right. Her essays on race and gender have been published in New York Newsday, The San Francisco Chronicle, Essence, Crisis and Step Into A World: An Anthology of the New Black Literature.

Loreen Stephens is a casting director and producer in lifestyle driven reality TV, based in New York City. Her casting credits include ABC, Bravo, Food Network, HGTV, Lifetime, TLC and the Style Network, where she also field produced episodes of Married Away, shot on location in Mexico, Austria, Santa Fe, and Las Vegas. Most recently, she’s cast several series premiering in 2009, including Making Over America on TLC, Chopped Season 2 on the Food Network, and College Life on MTV. Prior to casting, she worked as an art director and stylist for several design series’ currently airing on Discovery Home Channel. Since founding Bel-Esprit Creative, she’s worked in music production for TV, audio post-production, art direction for TV, and script writing for radio. In addition, Loreen taught a class on Reality TV at NYFA.

Produced by Octavia Taylor


About liftingasweclimb

Mildred Lewis writes and directs for theater, television, film and the web. She's also a full time professor, Christian, activist and troublemaker with a passion to save as much of the world as she can.
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