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Welcome to Advanced TV Herstory, the podcast that connects the dots of TV & feminism and American politics & culture. We tell the stories of women in TV who have had a profound impact on the confidence and aspirations of generations of girls and women.

We highlight the pioneering journalists, talented actresses, and gutsy writers who challenged societal norms and provide historical context for their achievements within the cultural and political trends of the time. By exploring the past, we ensure that the struggles, triumphs, and milestones of these women are not lost to history.

Hosted and produced by television scholar Cynthia Bemis Abrams, Advanced TV Herstory is more than just a podcast. It is a research-based examination of the evolution of television and women in our society. Each episode is an opportunity to inspire listeners to believe in themselves, challenge norms, break barriers, and shape the future of television and our world.

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Dec 13, 2023

Welcome to the next episode in our special series on TV Talk Shows.

Big talk show moments, especially the controversial ones, provide snapshots that we can use to examine our politics and culture at a singular point in time. Some of the moments we discuss in this series may be unfamiliar to you or they may seem obscure or forgotten, but that’s the point. We’re here to preserve TV Herstory.

Today, when alternative facts are part of our daily life, it’s especially instructive to look back more than 40 years at a grudge match over Truth and Reputation that played out on The Dick Cavett Show in 1980 and beyond. The combatants were two opinionated, strong-willed women: playwright/author Lillian Hellman and novelist/critic Mary McCarthy.

Thank you for listening to Advanced TV Herstory. I encourage you to learn more about these women starting with the resources below.



Plays: The Little Foxes; The Children's Hour; Watch on the Rhein; Days to Come

Books and Memoirs: An Unfinished Woman: A Memoir; Pentimento; Scoundrel Time

About Lillian Hellman:

C-SPAN's American History TV episode on Lillian Hellman

Rollyson, Carl (1989) Lillian Hellman: Her Legend and Her Legacy

Kessler-Harris, Alice (2012) The Challenging Life and Times of Lillian Hellman

Gallagher, Dorothy (2014) Lillian Hellman: An Imperious Life   



Books & Memoirs: Memories of a Catholic Girlhood; The Stones of Florence; The Group; Cannibals and Missionaries

About Mary McCarthy:

Kiernan, Frances (2002) Seeing Mary Plain: A Life of Mary McCarthy

Brightman, Carol (1992) Writing Dangerously: Mary McCarthy and Her World

Gelderman, Carol (1988) Mary McCarthy: A Life 



Theatre Talk: Hellman v. McCarthy - CUNY TV

Guests: Dick Cavett, Roberta Maxwell, Marcia Rodd

Hosts: Michael Riedel, Susan Haskins 



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