The Woman Behind Spike TV
When I think of the executive board room at Spike TV, the Viacom owned men’s cable network whose meathead-ish slogan is, “Get more action,” I envision a bunch of dudes sitting around, drinking beers, scratching their crotches, and brainstorming ideas about new programming featuring boobs and stuff. But perhaps I’ve been too judgmental? Enter Sharon Levy, the head of development for Spike’s reality programming, who is destroying the channel’s stereotypical Maxim-esque rep by coming up with un-vaginal programming that appeals to Spike’s male demographic while beckoning women to come check it out, too. (“Grey’s Anatomy?” she tells the New York Times. “Kill me now.”) Sharon, who got her start developing dude faves like “South Park” and “The Man Show” for Comedy Central is the kind of chick who enjoys talking about “Wolverine,” “Star Trek,” and her favorite video games while simultaneously telling you how awesome her new handbag is. She is particularly proud of her limited edition Takashi Murakami/Louis Vuitton. Her sensibilities led her to create Spike hit “Manswers,” which answers men’s most pressing-type questions like, “Do boobs jiggle the same on the moon?” Her latest brainchildren? “Deadliest Warrior,” which enlists computer modeling to determine which of two archetypal fighters would win a battle between, say, a ninja and a Spartan. I’m also kind of digging for “4th and Long,” which follows overlooked professional football hopefuls competing for a chance to be invited to the Dallas Cowboys training camp, and “Jesse James Is a Dead Man” featuring Mr. James, the owner of West Coast Choppers, as he does daredevil stunts. Kinda hot.
Levy’s new goal? To move the channel even further out of jiggle-land with some of her newest ideas. “DEA,” is a show, which follows the efforts of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, and she hopes it will crack the code of how to “do a show with women in it that is sexy and not misogynist.” Yay! Levy predicts “Surviving Disaster,” which provides instruction on how to make it through the aftermath of a nuclear explosion or a hijacking, will draw women even though it is not geared toward them. I’m in!
So, what do her male counterparts think of her? They say, “She’s like that cool chick in college that you drink with and go out and party with.” Some things never change, huh? Keep on trailblazing, Sharon. [NY Times]