Judy McGrath has been with MTV practically since its inception, and yesterday, after 30 years she abruptly resigned as the chairwoman and chief executive of MTV Networks. I can't remember a time when McGrath didn't set the tone at MTV which in turn set the tone for two generations of pop culture and music on TV. The network was much more influential back in the day when there were not as many cable choice. But it has smartly morphed in recent years to include hit reality and scripted shows. And while music may take a back seat nowadays, the MTV brand remains strong and one big reason was the steady leadership and dedication of McGrath.
It is reported in the Hollywood Reporter that McGrath did not like a new show about a girl band The Electric Barbarellas which premiered the night before her resignation and was championed by Summer Redstone the head of Viacom.
The loss of McGrath is profound in terms of female leadership - she was one of the most powerful women in the entertainment business and has been for years. She was number 10 on this year's Hollywood Reporter List of the Most Powerful Women in Hollywood. McGrath's job will now be eliminated and the three people who reported to her will now report to Philippe Dauman the President of Viacom.
Here's a quote from an executive who worked with her that appeared in the NY Times:
She is the most talent-friendly, creative, content-oriented executive I know...Judy was the heart and soul, the spirit and the internal organs of that place.
This really is an end of an era.
Head of MTV Networks Resigns Abruptly (NY Times)
What Judy McGrath Meant to MTV Networks (Analysis) (Hollywood Reporter)