Women’s History Month: 15 most influential women in TV history

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As we head into Women’s History Month, 2018 feels like a very empowering year for women.

We’re heading into an era where female-led superhero movies can break records. Female-led dramas can resonate with their female audiences. Women are beginning to find serious representation in media. 2018 is an era where women can organize incredible political marches, where women’s voices can be heard, where women’s work can be taken at equal value.

While we have come far — and have farther yet to go — we have many talented and tenacious women to thank for how far we have come. For Women’s History Month, let’s thank the women in television who made history and those who continue to influence and challenge the entertainment industry. Here are 15 of the most influential women in television history.

Lucille Ball

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Lucille Ball was more than just Lucille Ricardo on the beloved and groundbreaking sitcom I Love Lucy (1951). She was a pioneer of television – making then controversial choices to represent both her pregnancy and her interracial marriage on national television and touch on the issue of women in the workplace.

She was a visionary television executive — the first woman to run a major production company – championing iconic television shows like Star Trek (1966) and Mission: Impossible (1966). She changed the rules of sitcoms and broke the rules governing women in entertainment.

She paved the way for female-driven comedy in the generations that followed. Without her innovation and persistence, not only would the status of women in entertainment be in a very different place, but the entire evolution of television.