Rebecca Eaton, exec producer, ‘Masterpiece’

Women's Impact Report 2012: Creatives

Eaton is the woman who brings the cream of British TV drama to American screens under the “Masterpiece” banner. She’s been in charge of the PBS flagship since 1985, and has presided over a ratings surge in the past four years by rebranding the slot to draw in younger audiences. “Masterpiece” co-productions “Downton Abbey” and “Sherlock” helped to deliver 37 Emmy nominations this year.

What we should know: “The British are easier to deal with than the Americans. There are fewer tantrums and less posturing. But the British can be deeply evasive.”

Words of wisdom: “Put your skates on, with your shin guards and helmet, because things are changing so fast. Don’t assume that the industry you’re looking at today will be the same when you turn up to work. And pay careful attention to your family and friendships, because they will be your stability, not the industry.”

“The best I can manage is not to bring it to the dinner table.”

Work week hours: “I have no idea. I don’t dare count. Do you count the hours you dream about work, or have nightmares about the things you haven’t done?”

“Be completely in one place or the other, because you’ll frustrate everyone if you aren’t. I remember walking through the door from an exhausting trip to London, and my 4-year-old daughter said, let’s play dress up. So I played dress up.”

Charitable passion: “Gardens for Health is an NGO in Rwanda, which teaches women facing malnutrition how to grow their own food. It was founded by Emma Clippinger, a childhood friend of my daughter, when she was a student at Brown. For an 18-year-old woman to do something like that, and get people like Bill Clinton involved, is remarkable.”

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