Radical Woman of the Day: Donna Hanover

On this day in 1950 was born Donna Hanover, journalist, actor, and former First Lady of New York City. Born in Oakland, California, Donna Ann Kofnovec graduated with her Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Stanford in 1972. There she met her first husband, Stanley Hanover, whom she married after her graduation. They moved to New York City, where Donna Hanover obtained her master’s degree in journalism from Columbia.

Throughout the 1970s Hanover held a number of positions in TV journalism, including hosting and producing KDKA-TV’s Evening Magazine show. In 1980, as she and Stanley were getting divorced, she moved to Miami, where she met Rudy Giuliani. The two began dating and married in 1984, after they had moved to New York City. Throughout much of the 80s Hanover anchored the WPIX 10 p.m. news, leaving the position in 1989 to give birth to her second child.

Hanover campaigned for Giuliani during his successful bid for Mayor of New York City in 1993 and continued to work as a journalist at WNYW and Food Network for several years after his election. She also began to take on acting roles, appearing in The People Vs. Larry Flynt and Ransom in 1996 and in a recurring role on Law & Order, as well as other TV guest appearances. In April 2000 she signed on to play the lead role in The Vagina Monologues but resigned to support Giuliani after he announced he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer.

After Giuliani publicly announced his separation from Hanover without consulting or informing her in May of 2000, the couple divorced, and Hanover won custody of their two children. She continued to co-anchor for Food Network and later co-hosted for New York radio station WOR. In 2005 she published My Boyfriend’s Back: 50 True Stories of Reconnecting with a Long-Lost Love, which contained the story of her reunion with Edwin Oster, a high school boyfriend Hanover married in 2003 after a 20-year separation. She lives in New York and California.

"Women of the Gridiron"

The Lingerie Football League is exchanging the lingerie for regular athletic gear and rebranding to remove all the sexiness, including the name. Mitchell S. Mortaza, Founder and Chairman of the newly-retitled Legends Football League, explains:

This is the next step in the maturation of our now global sport. While the Lingerie Football League name has drawn great media attention allowing us to showcase the sport to millions, we have now reached a crossroad of gaining credibilty as a sport or continuing to be viewed as a gimmick.

This seems like a good thing, since it indicates that people may actually want to watch women play football, even if they’re wearing real clothes. Hopefully the gamble pays off, because—as silly and sexist as its beginnings were—the LFL could eventually open doors for aspiring female athletes.

Via Jezebel.

CW Develops Female-Centric Robin Hood Drama

Sherwood, which has received a script commitment at the network, is set in 1072 England and revolves around a young noblewoman who sets out to free her serf boyfriend, who has been wrongfully imprisoned by ruthless Norman occupiers. Seeing[sic] help from the vanished Robin of Locksley, she inadvertently reunites—and joins—the fabled Robin Hood and his Merry Men, inspiring new hope for the oppressed people of Nottingham.

For the non-insider, “a script commitment” means the network has commissioned the creator, Tze Chun, to write a script for a pilot episode. If they like the script, they’ll shoot the pilot. If the pilot tests well, they’ll make one season of the show, and so forth.

Is it just me, or is TV turning out to be way better for female starring vehicles than film?

More Feminist TV

30 Rock co-star Elizabeth Banks is venturing into TV producing with an untitled comedy project at CBS. Written by another actress, Elizabeth Wright Shapiro, the comedy centers on an Ivy League feminist who comes to L.A to become an assistant professor and ends up moving in with two “Playboy Bunny” type females. While they seemingly have nothing in common, all three are striving to be modern empowered women but with very different ideas of how to achieve it. Banks will executive produce with her husband, Max Handelman; Shapiro will co-executive produce for 20th Century Fox TV.

I’m amazed Fox bought this idea; it doesn’t sound anything like the sort of comedies that make it to air these day. That’s probably a good thing, and Elizabeth Banks is a smart, experienced comedian and producer, so I’ll definitely give this a shot.

Mila Kunis to Executive Produce Feminist TV Drama

Meridian Hills will look at a midwestern country club during the the begining of the women’s movement in the 70s. A newly married woman joins the Junior League at the country club and meets a group of women who want to shake things up.

Kunis is only executive producing, not starring in the show. Sounds like one to keep an eye on.

Another Alice Coming to TV

Remember how I wrote that The CW was developing a modern-day re-telling of Alice in Wonderland? Well, NBC has also bought an Alice adaptation to develop for TV. This one is actually set in Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland, but—Twist!—seven years after Alice’s adventures, with Alice now as the reigning Queen of Wonderland.

The show’s creator is Anthony Zuicker, who also created a little known series called CSI, so at least the man knows how to make a television show. On the other hand, I hope that doesn’t mean Wonderland (yes, the show is called Wonderland—you know, to distinguish it from The CW’s Wunderland) is going to be a crime procedural.

Please, Hollywood: don’t mess up this thing I love so much. I already gave you The Chronicles of Narnia!

Tina Fey Signs 4-Year Overall Deal with Universal

30 Rock ends this season, but Fey’s new deal may give NBC another smart, witty comedy to collect Emmys instead of viewers.

If we’re lucky.

Mika Brzezinski Keeps it Classy

Which is more than I can say for the men on “Morning Joe” in this clip where her co-host Joe Scarborough calls her black-leather-based dress “Anne Hathaway action”. The other two men present join Scarborough in talking over Brzezinksi’s attempt to explain that her choice of attire was merely in keeping with fall trends.

You have to watch the clip to understand how unprofessional and sexist the whole thing is.