For those of us that have been MTV fans since the 1980's, Liz Gately may just be the coolest mom we have featured thus far. Liz is Senior Vice President of Series Development at MTV and the woman behind the insanely addicative and tremendously popular Laguna Beach and The Hills, among a number of other high profile shows. As Liz thoughtfully points out in our interview, the grass always seems greener in your neighbor's yard. But we have to say Liz's grass seems awfully green. We might just want to be her.
Liz Gately lives in Manhattan with her husband and her three kids: Isabella, age 5, Gabby age 3, and Finn, age 1.
Tell us a little about your job developing shows at MTV.
My job is incredibly exciting and fulfilling but also difficult because it’s full-time and, therefore, takes me away from my kids. My title is Senior Vice President of Series Development at MTV. What that means is I get to create ideas for shows as well as hear people pitch me ideas for TV shows. I’ve worked on a wide array of shows, from Laguna Beach and The Hills to Run’s House and Human Giant. Once we hear the idea, it’s about putting the right bodies on it.
Do you work exclusively in the office, exclusively from home or some combination? What are the pros and cons of your schedule?
I work in an office. I’ve tried to work at home, but since most of my job involves watching TV and my kids aren’t allowed to watch TV during the day, it doesn’t really work. I have a very supportive boss and a great group of people I work with who cover me when I need to go to a school function or doctor’s appointment.
What are the best and worst parts of your job?
The most difficult part of my job is you can spend a year or two of your life developing and then producing a great show but when it hits air, the viewers don’t embrace it. Or it gets scheduled up against a huge hit on another network and never really gets a shot. But it happens. The best part of my job is I laugh every day, get to be creative, and get to meet very interesting, fun people.
Would you still work if you could afford to stay home full time with your kids? If so, why?
On a bad day, I would say stay home, in a heartbeat. On a good day, I’d say I’d work anyway. My kids are young and their questions and issues are easier to answer. As they get older, I may need to be around more. So I’ll keep my options open.
Describe your childcare setup.