Laybourne didn’t launch Nickelodeon, but she did turn it into the kids powerhouse that remains a thriving business today.
When Laybourne joined the young cable outlet in 1980, it was a sleepy programmer that didn’t accept commercials and was largely seen as a tool for cable operators to win franchise rights. But profitable thanks to the addition of ads, Laybourne immediately invested in the channel, overseeing its early original offerings.
She then helped expand the channel’s broadcast hours and broaden its audience by creating Nick at Nite in 1985. With those successes under her belt, Laybourne moved up the food chain, taking over the Nickelodeon presidency in 1989, and ascending to vice chair at MTV Networks in 1992.
The exec later moved briefly to Disney/ABC, before founding Oxygen Media in the late 1990s.