Muse Awards: For WE tv's Martin, Women Run the Show


One look at the list of seven new series currently in development for WE tv (Single Brides, for instance) and there is no question whether or not the network is geared toward women. But underneath its superficial girlishness is a stronger message of female empowerment - and behind that message is Kim Martin, president and general manager of WE tv.

At New York Women in Film & Television’s 35th Muse Awards in New York on Thursday, Martin was one of five women honored for her work in focusing on women in entertainment.

Of the new series that WE tv announced on Wednesday, Martin said that the network is “really focused on trying to make sure that all the central characters are breadwinners. They’re women who are balancing a career with making some key influential decisions.”

WE tv’s current lineup stars celebrities, such as Joan Rivers (Joan & Melissa) and Cyndi Lauper (Cyndi Lauper: Still So Unusual) as well as some of the “regular, every day people - but they’re usually running their own business,” said Martin. Such is the case with Powerlist, a series currently in development that follows successful women balancing both a family and career.

After working in the pharmaceutical industry and interviewing at investment banks, Martin first joined the television business at Discovery. She worked under then-president and CEO Judith McHale, who became Martin’s mentor.

“What I learned at that time was it was important for me, as a woman, to surround myself with those who live my reality - other women,” Martin said during her acceptance speech.

It is why Martin is so grateful to Josh Sapan, CEO of AMC Networks, which owns WE tv, and COO Ed Carroll - of AMC’s four networks, three are run by women.

“As a woman, we probably have a little different creative aesthetic as well as different ideas about storytelling,” Martin said. “[For WE tv], it only makes sense to have a woman running programming, a woman running marketing and a woman running the network.”