Women's Impact Report 2012: Executives

With Sherman heading up the charge, , now in 50 million homes, underwent a brand shift meant to reflect the mainstreaming of gays and lesbians into American culture, which translated into a slew of new buzzworthy series and specials, including the upcoming “The Baby Wait.” It also scored its highest raings in its history, with a 20% bump from May 2011 to May 2012. “RuPaul’s Drag Race” finale was seen by a record 1 million viewers in late April. Sherman also helped spearhead a research effort with Starcom Mediavest Group to identify the modern LGBT lifestyles and interests, which helps them target future original programming. In addition, results of a Harris Interactive poll commissioned by the net to get a sense of their audience’s take on key electoral issues will appear during Wanda Sykes-hosted election-year specials.

What we should know: “This business is much harder than it looks. Just sitting and watching television, I don’t know if anyone can have a full appreciation for how tough it is to make a hit. You have to have fortitude to have a lot of tries, and hopefully one or two will be a hit.”

Words of wisdom:“Always approach things as though you are a consumer. Our business is about knowing an audience, and the best way to know them is to put your consumer hat on. A lot of it is trusting your gut. Lots about this business is science, but there’s a big part that’s art.”

Smartphone habits:”Well, I try not to take it with me when I go into the ocean or swimming pool. So, yes. I did draw the line at the water, though. I have one of each, and I use them for different reasons. And I have an iPad, so I’m a multi-gadget family of one.”

Work week:“It’s so hard to quantify. The truth is we live in a 24-7 business and if you’re going to stay up on everything that’s happening, at least I have those devices (BlackBerry, iPhone, iPad) to allow me to be available even if I’m not physically in the office.”

Life-work balance: “It comes down to being able to prioritize and have good time management. I tend to watch things at night I’m not dealing with all through the day, so it’s fun to catch up on ‘Revenge’ or ‘Downton Abbey.’ I can lose myself in those kinds of shows. But my leisure also involves working out, being on the beach and being with friend.”

Charitable passion: “I’m on the board of God’s Love We Deliver here in New York; it started out as an AIDS services organization but we’ve broadened our mission. It delivers nutritionally-tailored meals, 4,200 every day, to people in the five boroughs who are unable to shop or cook for themselves. If you can’t eat, you can’t heal, you can’t care for your family. It’s a fundamental need.”

Twitter: @lesherman1

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