Last Friday, March 4th, senior producer Vania Stuelp’s return stint at TMZ came to an end when her contract was not renewed. Word is that Stuelp (pictured) and Harvey Levin didn’t exactly always see eye to eye, despite the fact that – as previously reported by FishbowlLA – she has the same attorney as Lindsay Lohan (!)
TMZ remains very much a male-run enterprise. This is certainly not unusual by Hollywood standards, except that in TMZ’s case, the lack of women in senior management stands in stark contrast to the Burbank ranks of parent company Telepictures.
At Telepictures Productions, Hilary Estey McLoughlin is president, Lisa Hackner is executive vp of creative affairs, and other senior vps include Sheila Boutier. At TMZ, Stuelp’s release comes on the heels of the early exit of virtually every other woman to hold a management position there: coordinating producer Angela Laughlin; supervising producer Gillian Sheldon; executive in charge Dana Demars; GM Pam Russo; and production manager Tanya Makhanian. Presently, there are zero women at the top of TMZ.
When Laughlin looked to renew her contract with TMZ in 2010, she was unable to get the company to place her at the same salary and title level as a recently promoted male co-worker, Mike Walters, despite her many more years of professional experience. Adding insult to injury was the fact that Walters once worked under her, as a court runner, when the two were colleagues at another Levin led enterprise, Celebrity Justice.
[Full disclosure: The author was once associated with TMZ on a freelance basis, working closely with Levin during the website’s formative stages and writing, for a year and a half, unbylined Saturday column “The Z List.“]