Pat Mitchell's plate couldn't be piled any higher. On March 1, she took over as president of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). Since then, she has been commuting between Atlanta and PBS headquarters in Alexandria, Va., but plans to move into a new home in Washington on Sept. 1. And then there's the wedding to plan.
Mitchell laughs as she recounts the rush of recent events in her life. She has the drive and prodigious energy to handle it all, including her mid-September marriage to Atlanta chemical magnate Scott Seydel (they reportedly were introduced by her old boss's estranged wife, Jane Fonda).
Mitchell comes to PBS from Atlanta, where she had 2½ years left on her contract as president of CNN Productions and Time Inc. Television. There she was responsible for developing original nonfiction programming for Time Warner businesses, including CNN and TBS.
Ted Turner had hired her in 1992 as senior vice president for his TBS Productions. Before that, she ran her own TV production company and became the first woman to produce and host a nationally syndicated talk show, the Emmy-winning Woman to Woman. Earlier stints saw her at NBC and TV stations in Boston and Washington, as producer and on-air host.
Although she had been looking forward to her future at Time Warner, which now owns Turner, the derailing of plans to start the Women's Network there may have dampened her ardor. The planned venture with Advance Publications was shelved last August, two months after it was announced with great fanfare.
Mitchell intends to keep her hand in production at PBS, which of course is renowned for its documentaries. "It's a contribution I can make, but my mandate as president and CEO is much broader," she notes. "The system is looking for leadership."