Edit ModuleShow Tags

Celebrating Women: Wendy Walker

An Emmy-winning news producer talks about her second act—scripted shows


Published:

Photo by Becca Batista

How did you become a producer?

I went to school in Virginia and went on to get my master’s at George Washington University. At the same time, I was working at Brooks Brothers. Ethel Kennedy was a client and I ended up working as her social secretary. I was the liaison with the media on a golf tournament she sponsored in honor of her late husband, and I met White House producers for ABC News. That’s when I got the bug. So I walked into ABC News in Washington and said I wanted to be a producer. They offered me an entry level position and I worked my way up. In less than a year my boss left ABC to start this new organization called CNN, and he hired me.

 

What was your first position with CNN?

I started as assistant to the Washington bureau chief. We were starting from scratch, so I did anything that needed to be done. In 1980, I became a producer and covered the White House for 10 years. I covered Presidents Reagan, Bush, and Clinton. It was an exhausting position with such extensive travel that today I don’t even want to get on an airplane.

 

How did you get to be the producer of Larry King Live?

I was picked by the president of CNN when the job came up in 1993. I was with CNN for 32 years, 18 of which were spent producing that show.

 

Where did you go from there?

I had always wanted to get into scripted television. After 18 years of live shows, I had a lot of ideas for scripted ones. The first one I pitched made it onto ABC last year. The show lasted for one year, and now I’m working on other ideas that I’ll be pitching to networks.

 

What was your favorite assignment?

Producing the series of US-Soviet summits with Reagan and Gorbachev, from Malta to Reykjavík.

 

I walked into ABC News and said I wanted to be a producer.In less than a year my boss left ABC to start this new organization called CNN, and he hired me.

 

Who is the most interesting person that you’ve met?

Probably the one who stood out the most was Marlon Brando.

 

What has been your biggest disappointment?

That we didn’t get a second season of Notorious.

 

What would you suggest to others who want to be a producer?

Decide what kind of producer you want to be and get your foot in the door. Work harder than anyone else. If you are really good, people will notice. Most people I know who are successful have come up through the ranks.

 

Whom would you like to meet?

Kevin Spacey, but only if I could be his really close friend. I think he’s an amazing actor.

 

Tell us about your family.

I have a 21-year-old daughter who’s interested in music, and my son wants to be a screenwriter. I’ve been in a 10-year relationship with Randy Woods.

 

How do you spend your leisure time?

I love to swim, spend time with my kids and Randy, and with close friends.

 

What’s on your bucket list?

I have an Emmy Award for news and I would like to get an Emmy for a scripted show. I’d like to see my children continue to grow and flourish and to be happy. I want to go to Africa and India, but that would require getting on a plane, so I might just have to watch a documentary.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Related Stories

Letter from the Editor: Merry, Bright, and Grateful

Editor in Chief Erin Meanley Glenny dishes on the December issue of San Diego Magazine

Five Questions With Local Bodyboarder Diego Land

Land and his son Micah will compete at this weekend’s Bodyboarding US Festival in Ocean Beach, the first major sponging contest California has seen in years.

A Q&A with Armand King, on His Book 'Raised In Pimp City'

The founder of nonprofit Paving Great Futures discusses his former life as a pimp and how to end sex trafficking
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. The Problem With Bright Red Tuna
    Many Americans still think bright red tuna means it’s fresher (it’s not)
  2. First Look: Animae
    Puffer Malarkey Restaurants unveil 5.5 million-dollar pan-Asian concept
  3. Jason Mraz and his Historic Coffee Bean
    The singer and Bird Rock Coffee Roasters unveil the first California-grown Geisha coffee
  4. The Hunt For San Diego's Best Chicken Wings
    How wings became the No. 1 kickoff food in the U.S., and our hunt for the best
  5. How San Diego Are You?
    Take our quiz to see where you land on the newcomer to old-timer spectrum
  6. First Look: Zinqué
    L.A. success story brings the soul of French zincs to Little Italy
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions

Not Your Grandma's Orthotics

New year, new – shoe? Staying on your feet for long hours at a time just got a whole lot more comfortable with Wiivv’s BASE custom insoles

October is Rideshare Month

Join the Rideshare 2015 Challenge and get there together
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module

Connect With Us:

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Sponsored

’Tis the Season for San Diego Fun

Here's where to play and stay this winter in America’s Finest City

We Chat with the Crew behind Hornblower Cruises and Events Aboard the High Spirits Ship

Sponsored by Hornblower
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags