Gretchen Carlson has inked a deal with A+E Originals to produce documentary specials, starting with a look at the national reckoning over the scourge of sexual harassment in the workplace.
The pact calls for Carlson to host at least three specials to be produced by A+E Originals, the unscripted production arm of the cable group that is home to Lifetime, A&E Network and History.
The project on deck is “The Brave with Gretchen Carlson” for Lifetime, a two-hour study of what is needed to combat sexual harassment. The focus will be on telling the stories of women from all walks of life who have suffered unwanted sexual advances in the workplace and the steps that need to be taken to prevent such behavior.
“The most crucial thing to me is to move the ball forward. How do we tell everybody’s stories, not just those of relatively famous people, and how do we involve men in this issue,” Carlson told Variety. “We need to focus on the role of men and how important it is for men to join us in this effort. We need men to stop being bystanders and turn into allies.”
Carlson, a former anchor at Fox News, help open the floodgates to the current scrutiny of the issue when she filed a sexual harassment lawsuit in June 2016 against the late Fox News chairman Roger Ailes, which led to his ouster. During the past two years she has championed her “Be Fierce” movement focusing on female empowerment. She penned a book by the same name and has been pushing for federal legislation to toughen laws related to workplace sexual harassment and related issues.
Carlson said she hopes the “Brave” special will draw the participation of some high-profile men who have faced harassment allegations. The other two specials will focus on inspirational stories of everyday Americans, per Lifetime.
“Gretchen has stood at the forefront of this powerful movement, risking her own career to protect all women. She’s a trusted, courageous journalist and a tireless advocate for women from all walks of life,” said Steve Ascher, VP of A+E Originals. Ascher, Carlson, Kristy Sabat, and Liz Gateley will serve as executive producers of the specials.
Carlson said the pact with A+E Originals is a good fit with her schedule these days as she remains active in promoting her “Be Fierce” campaign, the Gretchen Carlson Leadership Initiative and other philanthropic efforts. She is also the chair of the Miss America Organization, a role she took over following the controversy late last year when Miss America leaders were found to have disparaged contestants and past winners in leaked email correspondent. Carlson first gained national fame after winning the beauty pageant in 1989.
The pact with A+E Originals promises to give Carlson her first regular TV perch since she left Fox News in 2016. She will also be seen on the May 4 episode of Epix’s documentary series “America Divided,” which chronicles her lobbying efforts in Congress. Returning to TV has been a goal of Carlson’s even as she juggles other obligations, including raising her two pre-teen children. She sees it as an important step in proving that women who speak out against harassment won’t be blackballed in their chosen careers.
“This is a huge step for me personally and for all the women who were never been able to go back to the careers that they love,” Carlson said. “I want to thank A+E for believing in my smarts and my talent. I think it’s important for women to see that there’s a company out there saying ‘Yes, we’re putting her back on TV.’ I want to be a shining light for all of those women.”