Lisa Gregorian, '83, MA '86
Chief Marketing Officer, Warner Bros. Television Group
Q. What are you currently working on?
Our group handles the marketing of 50 current series, which include those on the broadcast and cable networks, syndication, and animation: Two and a Half Men, Big Bang Theory, The Mentalist, Gossip Girl, The Closer, Pretty Little Liars, and so many more. NBC just launched our new series Harry’s Law. Plus, it’s development season, which means we’ve been working on some marketing pitches; then we’ll have another two dozen pilots to prepare for the international screenings and upfronts. We have been focusing a lot this year on our licensing plans for consumer products on live action properties where having merchandising and products make the most sense. We are already planning the home video releases for some of our TV titles. This fall, our big focus in syndication will be the launch of our new talk show Anderson, hosted by Anderson Cooper, and our efforts to position Ellen as the show viewers should turn to once Oprah goes off the air.
Q. Could you describe one person, experience, or series of events at Emerson that shifted the course of your career and that illustrates one of Emerson’s core attributes of creativity, collaboration, risk taking, and excellence?
I would have to say formulating and performing with the comedy troupe This Is Pathetic really shaped my career choices. First, that experience was absolutely incredible. We had David Cross ’88 (actor), Laura Kightlinger ’86 (actress), John Ennis ’87 (actor), Tony Clark ’86, Anne Kenny ’85 (writer, producer), and so many incredibly talented people—the majority of whom are pros in comedy today. The biggest thing that I learned from this was that I didn’t want to be a performer. I was much more comfortable and, quite frankly, much better behind the scenes. That was the case then and that is the case now.
I had an amazing experience early on in my career. The now-deceased head of the Motion Picture Association of America, Jack Valenti, had been the commencement speaker at my Emerson graduation. A few years later, I was invited to a meeting with a few colleagues that Mr. Valenti attended. I was blown away by how surreal it was to be a participant in a meeting with this legend who had spoken at my graduation. I was completely blown away that Mr. Valenti was as brilliant, passionate, and articulate off the record as he was when he was standing on stage behind a podium with a prepared speech.
Q. Are you professionally connected to other Emersonians?
I have to laugh at this one because there are so many and on so many levels. Kevin Bright ’76 (producer) was at our studio for years with Friends and later with Joey. We worked together on many projects. Max Mutchnick ’87 is a producer with an overall deal at Warner Bros. We have a lot of marketing employees and interns who went to Emerson. There’s a lot of us in the business. You can’t escape Emersonians.
Q. What’s the single most important piece of advice you’d like to give to Emerson students?
Make sure that whatever area you’re interested in is something that you have a passion for. It is this passion that will take your creativity and your vision to the next level, and it’s what’s going to get you through the hard times as well. Love what you do.