Who Meryl Poster
Gig President of television at The Weinstein Co.,
New work Launching Rodeo Girls, Supermarket Superstar
You’re known as one of the few people in Hollywood that can say “no” to Harvey Weinstein. Is that difficult?
You know, I am who I am, and I’m a very honest person. Harvey respects that about me, and he knows that when I argue with him, it’s not that I have a personal agenda; it’s what I feel is best for the company. I even had a little tussle with him yesterday, and he said to me, “You’ve always helped me—let me help you.” Not that I needed his help, but he does give me a lot of credit.
You spent 16 years at Miramax and returned to The Weinstein Company two years ago after a five-year break. What drew you back?
Harvey presented the opportunity of working on a Project Runway franchise and put together All-Stars. I was a big fan of Runway as a viewer—I didn’t work on the show when I was at the company. I had also met the Mob Wives and thought they were fantastic, so I was excited about that. Basically, Harvey gave me the opportunity to have free rein in running and building a department.
Project Runway was just picked up for a 12th season. How do you keep the show fresh, considering that every season follows a similar format?
I think that the quality of the show keeps people coming back, and the familiarity with the format. We have phenomenal guest judges—we did a special challenge in All-Stars with Katie Holmes and military families—and the talent of these designers just makes people want to see it. On Season 11, we did mix it up with teams.
How did your upcoming reality series, Rodeo Girls, come together?
Darcy LaPier, the star of the show, came in to pitch our COO David Glasser on a project, and as an aside, she mentioned that she was a rodeo barrel racer. She introduced us to other women on the barrel-racing circuit, and that’s how the idea arose. It’s about a new era of woman: The same way that Fifty Shades of Grey has become a phenomenon, these women leave behind their family and their responsibilities to hit the road and have some fun, which is what the guys normally do.
You’re also working on a couple of scripted shows. Will that become a bigger focus for the company?
I would like to have a balance of both [reality and scripted]. I know everyone’s looking at me and saying, “Why are you doing so much reality?” And I really don’t care, because to tell a story is to tell a story.
What do you think about the common criticism that certain reality shows are exploiting their stars?
It’s quite the opposite. They have tremendous opportunity doing these shows. Their lives become so much richer and fuller, and they have a chance to see a world that they never would have had a chance to see. And these women are able to support their family. You look at somebody like NeNe Leakes from The Real Housewives of Atlanta, and you think, “Where would this woman ever have this opportunity?”
What are your favorite TV shows?
I loved House of Cards. I joked that my Christmas vacation was me drinking tequila and soda and watching House of Cards all night. I love Housewives of Beverly Hills and Modern Family and Glee. I even enjoy WWE Smackdown on Friday nights with my 11-year-old son. Oh, and Girls. I saw Tiny Furniture very early on, and I thought that Lena Dunham would make great talent.
Do you think you’ll get to work with her?
She’s probably out of my league now, but you never know. Maybe she’ll judge an episode of Runway.