SXSW Adds Jodie Foster, Katie Couric And More As Featured Speakers; PJ Raval, Dawn Ostroff To Keynote Lineup

Read on: Deadline.

The lineup for keynote and featured speakers continues to grow at SXSW with their final round up of guests. Call Her Ganda filmmaker PJ Raval and a conversation with Spotify chief content officer Dawn Ostroff, Gimlet co-founder Matt Lieber and Anchor c…

Michael Lewis’ Latest Book ‘The Fifth Risk’ Acquired By The Obamas Under Their Netflix Production Deal

Read on: Deadline.

Deadline has learned that Michael Lewis’ latest book The Fifth Risk has been acquired by Barack and Michelle Obama under their Netflix production deal for a possible series that will help people understand the inner workings of the government bet…

‘Murphy Brown’ Sets All-Star Guest Lineup, Including Alums Katie Couric and Bette Midler

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

“Murphy Brown” just added several guest stars to appear on the CBS revival, including Katie Couric and Bette Midler, who appeared on the sitcom’s original run. Brooke Shields, John Larroquette and Peter Gallagher are also set to appear.

Midler will reprise her role as Caprice Morton, previously known as Caprice Feldman, Murphy’s former secretary. Now, though, Caprice has a surprising new connection to Murphy, making her, if possible, even more entitled and unbearable. Midler will appear in the Thursday, Nov. 8, episode.

Couric previously appeared on the series in 1992, attending Murphy’s baby shower. She will appear in the Thursday, Nov. 8, episode as herself, hosting a Lifetime Achievement event and running into her old friends, Murphy and Corky.

Also Read: Murphy Brown Crashes Sarah Huckabee Sanders Press Conference to Ask ‘Why Do You Lie?’ (Video)

Also appearing on Nov. 8 will be Larroquette, playing Judge Nate Campbell, a kindred spirit to Murphy. Shields will play Holly Mackin Lynne, a woman who wakes up after being in a coma for years. Holly was one of Corky’s beauty pageant friends, and her experience was dubbed The Sleeping Beauty Case 10 years ago, but never solved. Shields will appear in the Thursday, Nov. 15 episode.

Gallagher will appear in the Thursday, Nov.1 episode as the notorious manspreader and conservative right-wing news anchor John Haggerty of the WOLF Network, covering an election with Avery Brown (Jake McDorman). 

“Murphy Brown” stars Candice Bergen as the titular journalist, along with Faith Ford, Joe Regalbuto and Grant Shaud.

“Murphy Brown” airs Thursdays at 9:30/8:30c on CBS.

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‘Murphy Brown’: Bette Midler, Brooke Shields, John Larroquette, Katie Couric & Peter Gallagher To Guest Star In CBS Comedy

Read on: Deadline.

EXCLUSIVE: Some hefty star power is coming to Murphy Brown. Emmy, Grammy and Tony Award winner Bette Midler (Hello, Dolly!; Beaches; First Wives Club), Golden Globe nominee Brooke Shields (Suddenly Susan, Jane The Virgin, Law & Order SVU), Emmy and…

Katie Couric, Matt Damon, More Stars Join ‘Stand Up To Cancer’ Telethon for Organization’s 10th Year

Read on: Variety.

“Stand Up To Cancer” celebrated its 10th anniversary in a big way on Friday, hosting a sixth TV special to raise money for cancer research with the help of some of Hollywood’s biggest names. Executive produced by Bradley Cooper, the t…

Hollywood Remembers Craig Zadan: Kevin Bacon, Neil Patrick Harris And Others Pay Tribute To Prolific Producer

Read on: Deadline.

Refresh for updates Hollywood figures and celebrities took to Twitter to honor prolific producer Craig Zadan, who died Tuesday after complications following shoulder replacement surgery.
Zadan is known for championing musical theater and produced Oscar…

Katie Couric & Queen Latifah Team Up With Brands To Bolster Female Storytellers – Cannes Lions

Read on: Deadline.

Katie Couric and Queen Latifah are shining a light on gender equality with a raft of new projects aimed at bolstering the number of female directors and storytellers.
The pair used a keynote session at the Cannes Lions festival in France to lift the li…

Ava DuVernay, Samira Wiley, ‘Call Me by Your Name’ Win GLAAD Media Awards

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Ava DuVernay, Samira Wiley and Gloria Carter are a few winners from the 29th GLAAD Media Awards in New York City Saturday night.

The “Wrinkle in Time” director was the recipient of the Excellence in Media Award, presented by Sen. Corey Booker. “Handmaid’s Tale” star Wiley was presented with the Vito Russo Award by co-star Alexis Bledel, and Special Recognition Award was given to “Smile” by Jay-Z featuring Gloria Carter off the rapper’s album “4:44.” Jay-Z’s mom, Ms. Carter, accepted the award.

“Call Me by Your Name” won the award for Outstanding Film – Wide Release, and was accepted by Oscar-winning screenwriter James Ivory and producer Peter Spears.

Also Read: Ava DuVernay to Receive GLAAD’s Excellence in Media Award (Exclusive)

“GLAAD is working to ensure the spirit of unity and intersectionality that was celebrated tonight extends throughout the year,” said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “Tonight’s award recipients are the front lines to ensuring that LGBTQ acceptance moves forward in a political and cultural climate that is working against us.”

Other awards announced Saturday night include “Gender Revolution: A Journey Revolution with Katie Couric” from National Geographic for Outstanding Documentary, and Halsey, Hopeless Fountain Kingdom for Outstanding Music Artist. See other recipients from Saturday’s event below:

  • Outstanding Talk Show Episode: “Australian Marriage Equality” Last Week Tonight with John
    Oliver (HBO)
  • Outstanding TV Journalism – News Magazine: “The Pulse of Orlando: Terror at the Nightclub”
    Anderson Cooper 360 (CNN)
  • Outstanding TV Journalism Segment: “Murders Raise Alarm for Transgender Community” NBC
    Nightly News with Lester Holt (NBC)
  • Outstanding Newspaper Article: “The Silent Epidemic: Black Gay Men and HIV” by Gracie Bonds
    Staples (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
  • Outstanding Magazine Article: “Forbidden Lives: The Gay Men Who Fled
    Chechnya’s Purge” by Masha Gessen (The New Yorker)
  • Outstanding Magazine Overall Coverage: Billboard
  • Outstanding Digital Journalism – Multimedia: “‘This Is How We Win’: Inside Danica Roem’s
    Historic Victory” by Diana Tourjée (Broadly.Vice.com)
  • Outstanding TV Journalism – News Magazine: “Pulse, Huellas de la Masacre” Docufilms (CNN en Español)
  • Outstanding TV Journalism Segment: “Comunidad LGBTQ Vulnerable Bajo Nuevo Gobierno” Perspectiva Nacional (Entravision)

Several awards had been announced in Los Angeles last month. See below for the complete list.

Also Read: Lena Waithe Gets Real With LGBT Community in GLAAD Award Speech: ‘We Can Be a Little Segregated’ (Video)

  • Outstanding Drama Series: “This Is Us” (NBC) [accepted by: Denis O’Hare; presented by Rachel
    Bloom and Ben Feldman]
  • Outstanding Individual Episode (in a series without a regular LGBTQ character): “Thanksgiving,” “Master of None” (Netflix) [accepted by Lena Waithe; presented by Halle Berry]
  • Outstanding Kids & Family Programming winner: Andi Mack (Disney Channel)
  • Outstanding Comedy Series: “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (FOX) [accepted by: Chelsea Peretti, Stephanie Beatriz, Melissa Fumero, and producer Dan Goor; presented by Chloe Grace Moretz and Tom
    Payne]
  • Outstanding Film – Limited Release: “A Fantastic Woman” (Sony Pictures Classics)
  • Outstanding TV Movie or Limited Series: “When We Rise” (ABC)
  • Outstanding Comic Book: Black Panther: World of Wakanda (Marvel Comics)
  • Outstanding Daily Drama: “The Bold and the Beautiful” (CBS)
  • Outstanding Digital Journalism Article: “Why Bisexual Men Are Still Fighting to Convince Us They
    Exist” by Samantha Allen (Splinter)
  • Outstanding Blog: TransGriot (transgriot.blogspot.com)
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Trump White House’s First State Dinner High on Pomp, Low on Star Wattage

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Donald Trump’s first state dinner for French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte will include 120 guests, a cream and gold color scheme, rack of spring lamb for the main course and white floral centerpieces of sweet peas and white lilacs.

What it won’t have is Hollywood glamour.

Celebrities have long been a staple of Washington state dinners. But unlike, say, the Obama years, which featured the likes of Beyoncé, Steven Spielberg and James Taylor, this year’s event is low on star wattage, with the Washington National Opera serving as the featured entertainment.

Except for Melania Trump’s broad-brimmed white hat earlier in the day, which drew immediate comparisons to “Scandal’s” Olivia Pope, perhaps the only other Hollywood connection at the state dinner was movie-financier-turned-Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Also Read: Rupert Murdoch to Attend Trump White House’s First State Dinner

Among the non-politics celebs who arrived at the Mount Vernon dinner were Apple CEO Tim Cook, Rupert Murdoch and his wife Jerry Hall, Olympic curler John Shuster, and women’s hockey player Meghan Duggan. On the politics side, Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy, economic adviser Larry Kudlow, Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen, Chief Justice John Roberts, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, RNC Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, aide Stephen Miller, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, Henry Kissinger, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner were there.

The lone Democrat invited was Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, whose office confirmed to TheWrap he and his wife will be attending.

Getty

In contrast, the Obama’s first state dinner for then-Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife Gursharan Kaur in 2009 was held in a tent on the South Lawn of the White House. The dinner included 400 guests, including Steven Spielberg, Katie Couric and actors Blair Underwood and Alfre Woodard.

It was also the year when a couple of party crashers made headlines: Tareq and Michaele Salahi. The Washington socialites were filming “Real Housewives of D.C.,” and made an entrance even though their names were not on the list.

Also Read: Trump Cleans Dandruff Off Macron Shoulder in Show of Friendship (Video)

The Obamas’ list of Hollywood celebs famously included Beyoncé, who headlined the 2010 state dinner for Mexico’s then-President Felipe Calderón and his wife, Margarita Zavala. Angela Merkel had a friend in James Taylor during her state dinner in 2011. British Prime Minister David Cameron got to enjoy some John Legend and Mumford and Sons in 2012. And Mary J. Blige had gave some real love to Macron’s predecessor, François Hollande during his state dinner in 2014.

The Obama’s last state dinner, for Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and his wife Agnese Landini in 2016, featured a who’s who of Hollywood A-listers. Gwen Stefani, former racing driver Mario Andretti, fashion designer Georgio Armani, celebrity chef Mario Batali, Disney lobbyist Richard Bates, and actor Roberto Benigni, who won an Oscar for 1999’s “Life Is Beautiful” were among the dinner guests.

Republican presidents typically have a harder time wrangling A-listers for their dinners.

First lady Laura Bush’s first state dinner was an intimate dinner honoring then-Mexican President Vicente Fox and his wife, Martha Sahagun de Fox in 2001.  The guest list included tenor Placido Domingo, Washington Redskins cornerback Darrell Green, after-dinner entertainment soprano Dawn Upshaw and the lone Hollywood representative, Clint Eastwood.

Other celebrities attending state dinners during the Bush years include country crooner Kenny Chesney in 2006, famed violinist Itzhak Perlman in 2007 and the Broadway production of “The Lion King” in 2008.

Spent yesterday with my team checking on the final details of our first State Dinner with France. pic.twitter.com/vHoQ1rTA3s

— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) April 23, 2018

Is Melania Trump’s white hat a symbol of morality like Olivia Pope’s? pic.twitter.com/JZRHL7iuOi

— KOlive (@kmomonahan) April 24, 2018

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Katie Couric Says Nat Geo Docuseries Goes Further Than Mainstream Media: ‘These Conversations Aren’t Happening’ (Video)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Katie Couric’s new National Geographic show will delve into issues “that really aren’t being covered adequately in the mainstream media,” the “America Inside Out” host says.

“The news cycle is so fast and furious now,” Couric said, explaining her desire to do the series to TheWrap’s Sharon Waxman at the Power Women Breakfast Austin last month.

“There’s so much obsession — understandably so — over the president’s latest tweet, some of the things that he’s said or drama inside the West Wing,” she continued. “I don’t think enough people are taking a step back and saying, ‘What are some of the pressing issues that are dividing us? What are some of the things that people are reacting to and not thinking about?’”

Also Read: Katie Couric Talks Matt Lauer, Sexual Harassment at TheWrap’s Power Women Breakfast Austin

Premiering Wednesday and featuring interviews with people from across the country, the six-part docuseries will tackle topics including political correctness, the impact of the white working class on the 2016 presidential election, controversial monuments and statues, and being Muslim in America.

Couric said the show aims to help people escape their political echo chambers in an era when Americans are getting “affirmation, not information” from their news feeds.

“There’s this instantaneous judgement in our society right now, because of social media, because of our tribalism, because of our silos,” she said. “These conversations aren’t happening.”

Also Read: Katie Couric Breaks Silence on Matt Lauer: ‘This Was Not the Matt We Knew’

The series marks Couric’s second project with Nat Geo, following last year’s two-hour documentary “Gender Revolution.”

“It was really fun and a great eye-opening experience,” Couric said. “I hope, through everything I’ve learned in the process, that people watching will learn.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

Katie Couric Treats Jimmy Kimmel to Surprise First Colonoscopy in Honor of His 50th Birthday (Video)

Katie Couric Talks Matt Lauer, Sexual Harassment at TheWrap’s Power Women Breakfast Austin

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Katie Couric on Her ‘Prescient’ New Docuseries ‘America Inside Out,’ Political Correctness and #MeToo

Read on: Variety.

With her new six-part NatGeo docuseries “America Inside Out,” Katie Couric tackles head-on some of the issues that have been making headlines around the country — from the march in Charlottesville to anti-Muslim sentiment to the #MeToo movement that is spurring sweeping change across workplaces. “It’s been a tremendous amount of work but really gratifying […]

Katie Couric Treats Jimmy Kimmel to Surprise First Colonoscopy in Honor of His 50th Birthday (Video)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

If Katie Couric tells you it’s time to get a colonoscopy, then you better hop to it. Even if she demands it be on camera. Actually, especially if she demands it be on camera.

Couric surprised Jimmy Kimmel on his ABC late-night show Tuesday with a trip to get the exploratory procedure for the very first time. Of course, she was happy to go with him, having famously done the same thing herself on the “Today” show back in March 2000, after her husband Jay Monahan died of colon cancer at the age of 42.

Bright side: Kimmel’s colon is looking just fine. Down side: he had requested he get to keep “all the pieces” of whatever they found in there — which we guess means he went home empty-handed.

Also Read: Jimmy Kimmel: ‘Trump Goes Through Cabinet Members Like He Goes Through Cheeseburgers and Aqua Net’ (Video)

Watch the clip above.

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What I Learned at TheWrap’s BE Conference on Mentorship

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

I’ve come away from TheWrap’s second conference to mentor millennial women in entertainment and media hugely inspired, and more convinced than ever that we are in the midst of real change on behalf of women’s leadership.

We were 250 millennials and about 30 mentors digging deep into what holds women back from success and what keeps them from being their best, and hearing from some of those who have overcome obstacles to achieve incredible things. Looking back on the experience, here are the lessons I learned.

  1. Things worth doing are tough. The fear will be there. Do it anyway.

Across the dozen or so keynotes and panels, there was a common thread: Everybody feels fear when facing challenges. Even the former sheriff of Dallas County, Lupe Valdez, who is now the first female, Latina, gay person to run for Governor of Texas.

Also Read: NYC Public Advocate Letitia James Calls on Women to Challenge ‘Pale, Male and Stale’ Pols for Office

Valdez was the daughter of farm workers, and now at age 70, she said she decided to run for governor despite the odds stacked against her and the lack of historical precedent. Throughout her life in public service people were “mean, hateful and conniving” and she would go home and cry, she said. And then she’d get up the next day and do it again.

Or as New York City Public Advocate Letitia James put it in her one-on-one interview: “Don’t be paralyzed by fear. Put your high heels on, turn your red bottoms up, and just go seize it. I don’t want to quote rap right now, but I ‘started from the bottom, now I’m here.’”

If you ask me, James — someone who probably inspires fear in her political adversaries — is calling it like it is: “We have too many men in Congress who are pale, male and stale,” she said. “It’s time to change that.”

  1. #MeToo happened to Rachel Bloom.

I expected to have a fun, smart conversation with “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” star and co-creator Rachel Bloom about blazing a trail in comedy with the show that combines musical theater with her particularly dark strain of funny. Instead, Rachel came ready to call out two men she says sexually harassed her a decade ago. The men had been her mentors when she was at college at New York University, but instead wanted to sleep with her. Except Bloom put it more bluntly, a whole bunch of times. (That girl is an excellent curser.)

Also Read: Rachel Bloom Had a #MeToo Moment With NYU Comedy Group: ‘Almost Ruined College for Me’ (Video)

It took the #MeToo movement for her to realize that what she experienced at age 19 was in fact harassment. At the time it was Bloom, not the men, who paid the price; she was removed as the head of the Tisch sketch comedy group she was part of, while the men went on to become widely known in the comedy world today. (She chose not to name them. We can wonder… or we can Google her year at Tisch.)

Bloom said she finally called the other men in the troupe just last week, and confronted them about this. To their credit, she said, they immediately copped to the situation and apologized.

Bloom also did not name an executive at CBS – home of her CW network – who inappropriately touches her even now. Bloom said that when this happens at cocktail parties, she shrinks inside.

“I am outspoken. I talk about my period & my vagina. But then a guy gets too handsy and I go into shame mode! That has to change for us all.” says hella funny, fierce #RachelBloom @Racheldoesstuff in chat w/ @sharonwaxman @TheWrap #BeInAustin pic.twitter.com/uvfBGXvTjH

— ClaudiaCarasso-ElasticMinds (@ElasticMindsCRC) March 12, 2018

Point is: even a successful, ballsy broad like Rachel Bloom questions herself when she feels boundaries are overstepped, instead of calling out the man in question.

  1. Lean on other women. There is strength in sisterhood. And sometimes, a career.

We also had three incredible women from the Baroness von Sketch Show, who recounted that they were, individually, destitute and down to their last dime(s) before their comedy troupe came together five years ago.

‘Baroness von Sketch Show’ Star @MeredithMacNeill Tells Millennials: ‘Own Who You Are’ (Video) https://t.co/QDojD24tTB pic.twitter.com/N8rdKqPS6d

— TheWrap (@TheWrap) March 13, 2018

Jennifer Whalen said she had a great career when she was in her 20s and early 30s as a comedy writer, and the guys thought she was cute. They didn’t think she was cute after she turned 40, and no longer wanted her in the writer’s room.

But when she met Carolyn Taylor, Meredith MacNeill and Aurora Browne, the Baronesses von Sketch were born.

Two brave survivors of Harvey Weinstein attacks, Jessica Barth and Sarah Ann Masse, were also present to share their truths, and to counsel other women about how to prevent the experiences they had in Hollywood.

Also Read: Paradigm Agent Ellen Gilbert: My Job Is to Protect Clients From Predators (Video)

We talked about confidence, and body image, and how to build an empire as an entrepreneur. We talked about marketing and Matt Lauer with Katie Couric. We talked about political activism. (Choice line from LA Women’s March organizer Emiliana Guereca, when critics called her march a “bitchfest”: “So,” she shot back, “Are you coming?”) We learned to reach for the stars with NASA astrophysicist Andrea Razzaghi, and to listen quietly to the beauty that makes up the gift of sound with Dolby chief scientist Poppy Crum.

“Be comfortable being lonely in your ideas,” says @Dolby Poppy Crum at #BEConference @sxsw @thewrap pic.twitter.com/5B0huO7W8y

— Sharon Waxman (@sharonwaxman) March 12, 2018

LA women’s march founder @EmilianaGuereca recruited pple who called her a “bitch”: “so are you coming?” #BEConference pic.twitter.com/iLuyCatfo6

— Sharon Waxman (@sharonwaxman) March 12, 2018

Here’s what else I learned: the rising millennials are full of ambition and smarts. They are eager to learn and they want mentors.

Here’s some of the coverage, and I invite you to read it and get inspired too.

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Katie Couric Leads Discussion on What It ‘Means to be a Muslim Today’ at SXSW

Read on: Variety.

Katie Couric framed her SXSW conversation, “The Muslim Next Door,” with a Dickensian twist on Sunday. “These are the best of times, these are the worst of times — for Muslims in America,” she said. As part of her upcoming six-part National Geographic series “America Inside Out with Katie Couric,” the journalist taped a live […]

The Scene at TheWrap’s Power Women Breakfast Austin 2018 (Photos)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

TheWrap’s Power Women Breakfast in Austin took place on March 11, concurrent with the 2018 SXSW Film Festival.

Katie Couric speaking at the Power Women Breakfast, Austin.

Photographed by Nathan Rocky for TheWrap

Attendees checking in at the Power Women Breakfast, Austin.

Photographed by Nathan Rocky for TheWrap

The scene at TheWrap’s Power Women Breakfast in Austin.

Photographed by Nathan Rocky for TheWrap

The scene at TheWrap’s Power Women Breakfast in Austin.

Photographed by Nathan Rocky for TheWrap

The scene at TheWrap’s Power Women Breakfast in Austin.

Photographed by Nathan Rocky for TheWrap

The table setting at TheWrap’s Power Women Breakfast, Austin.

Photographed by Nathan Rocky for TheWrap

TheWrap’s CEO and editor-in-chief Sharon Waxman welcoming attendees at TheWrap’s Power Women Breakfast in Austin.

Photographed by Nathan Rocky for TheWrap

Katie Couric speaking with other attendees at TheWrap’s Power Women Breakfast in Austin.

Photographed by Nathan Rocky for TheWrap

Katie Couric listening to Jayna Zweiman and Gabriella Schwarz.

Photographed by Nathan Rocky for TheWrap

Sharon Waxman and Katie Couric taking a selfie at TheWrap’s Power Women Breakfast.

Photographed by Nathan Rocky for TheWrap

Sharon Waxman announcing TheWrap’s Power Women Summit.

Photographed by Nathan Rocky for TheWrap

Attendee asking Katie Couric a question at TheWrap’s Power Women Breakfast in Austin.

Photographed by Nathan Rocky for TheWrap

#MeToo Panel at TheWrap’s Power Women Breakfast in Austin.

Photographed by Nathan Rocky for TheWrap

Nancy Giordano speaking on the#MeToo panel.

Photographed by Nathan Rocky for TheWrap

#MeToo Panel at TheWrap’s Power Women Breakfast in Austin.

Photographed by Nathan Rocky for TheWrap

The Pink Ceiling CEO Cindy Whitehead listening to #MeToo panel.

The Pussyhat Project founder Jayna Zweiman listening to the #MeToo panel.

Photographed by Nathan Rocky for TheWrap

Photographed by Nathan Rocky for TheWrap

President and CCO of Fusion Media Camila Jimenez Villa speaking on the #MeToo panel.

Photographed by Nathan Rocky for TheWrap

Katie Couric Talks Matt Lauer, Sexual Harassment at TheWrap’s Power Women Breakfast Austin

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Katie Couric spoke to a room full of formidable women about sexual harassment in the industry at TheWrap’s Power Women Breakfast in Austin on Sunday, and revealed what she would say to her former colleague Matt Lauer in regards to allegations made against him.

“I certainly dealt with sexist environments and environments that marginalized and didn’t give women their due, and didn’t treat women as intellectual equals, but it’s hit very close to home with Matt Lauer and what happened there,” Couric told TheWrap’s founder and Editor-in-Chief Sharon Waxman. “It’s been an important experience for me because I never faced this kind of treatment. I was one of the lucky ones — I think I am harassable and I’m not harassable in that sense, and I think it is because I was in a position of power early in my career.”

When asked what she would say to Lauer, with whom she spent 15 years co-hosting NBC’s “Today” show, if she ran into him today, Couric said, “I hope he’s trying to figure out and understand his behavior and why he did it and why it was so wrong.”

Also Read: Katie Couric, Baroness von Sketch Comedians to Headline Power Women, BE Conference at SXSW 2018!

“We had a wonderful working relationship,” she added. “It’s shocking, honestly, and disturbing, disorienting, disheartening — all of those d-words. But I think, he’s not the only one who behaves in this way. People all over the place … have participated in this kind of behavior, that have used their power in an exploitative and unacceptable way.”

After two decades at the helm of “Today,” Lauer’s career unraveled just 24 hours after NBC management was confronted with a detailed allegation of sexual misconduct against him in November. He was fired from the network, and he released a statement acknowledging his wrongdoings with women over the years and apologized — but he also said some of the charges against him were untrue.

Couric said educating and welcoming men into the conversation about sexual harassment and appropriate workplace behavior will be the fundamental steps to changing the culture and the attitudes of companies that should be transparent.

“Cultures have existed in the media, and in every arena, where behaviors were tolerated, people looked the other way, it was an accepted way of doing business,” Couric explained. “I don’t think people paid much attention to it. In my case, it was something I was unaware of because if you talk to experts about this, people are very proficient at being secretive about certain behavior and making sure people don’t witness certain behaviors. Culturally, it’s a huge problem: the tone that is set from the top. About having a complete male management structure, the very presence of women reduces toxic masculinity in the work place. Putting women in more leadership jobs with real authority and vision-making ability is absolutely critical if we’re going to change the culture.”

TheWrap’s Power Women Breakfast also welcomed Jayna Zweiman, founder and creator of the Pussyhat Project, a social movement that focuses on raising awareness about women’s rights. On a panel moderated by Flipboard Managing Editor Gabriella Schwarz, Zweiman said she started knitting because of the incredible support system she witnessed in knitting stores, and how that is important to create change for women in the world.

“I got a ton of perspective, knowledge, and I realized it’s transgenerational,” Zweiman told the room. “There were women 15 years younger than I am or 40 years older. Understanding where we come from and where we can go is very important. You can be the worst knitter in the room, that doesn’t matter, everyone is welcome. When we talk about the culture we want to create, this is an incredible example of how this can happen.”

Lastly, founder of Play Big Inc. Nancy Giordano led a discussion about achieving 50/50 parity by 2020, with Christine Lubrano, SVP Original Programming at IFC, and Camila Jimenez Villa, president and CCO at Fusion Media.

Also Read: Katie Couric Breaks Silence on Matt Lauer: ‘This Was Not the Matt We Knew’

Lubrano explained that not only has she reported to a women for most of her career, but IFC has always looked at, maybe “not consciously,” having balance in their shows. IFC has the satirical sketch comedy “Baroness von Sketch Show,” an all-female comedy also directed by a woman. IFC’s other popular show, “Portlandia,” stars a man and a woman (Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein) equally.

“Having a diverse staff helps,” said Lubrano. “It will happen if we support it.”

Villa explained that in corporate America, she’s mostly been the only woman in the room, especially a “brown woman.” To put change into effect, she said it’s important to make sure there is always a woman on board on a team of creators and to have as many female showrunners as possible.

“I just try to be very active from the very top of the funnel because I know it has a trickle affect,” said Villa. “What we can concretely do is to raise our sons thinking that they can be empathetic beings and feminists.”

“We are raising the citizens of the future,” said Giordano.

TheWrap’s Power Women Breakfast series brings together women of remarkable achievement to connect and inspire the leading influential women of entertainment, media, technology and brands in the key cities where those women work, create, gather, network and connect.

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