WNET Appoints Lesley Norman as Director of Planning and Strategy for American Masters

Posted: July 1, 2013

WNET Appoints Lesley Norman as Director of Planning and Strategy for American Masters


Award-winning production executive added to THIRTEEN’s arts and culture biography series’ production team

WNET, parent company of New York’s public television stations THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, appointed Lesley Norman to the position of Director of Planning and Strategy for THIRTEEN’s award-winning arts and culture biography series American Masters.

In this role, Ms. Norman will be responsible for developing media and creative partnerships as well as potential funding partners for the American Masters series. Additionally, Ms. Norman will be tasked with coordinating all grant proposals to foundations, government organizations and PBS. She will collaborate closely with the WNET Development and Communications staff. Ms. Norman brings more than 20 years of experience in production, editorial, outreach, engagement, and grant and fundraising management. She will report to American Masters creator and executive producer Susan Lacy, who launched the series in 1986 on PBS.

“We’re thrilled Lesley will be joining the American Masters team.  She brings not only her vast experience and steadfast dedication to documentary filmmaking and public television, but the foresight to help American Masters continue to thrive as we move past our milestone 200th episode,” said Susan Lacy.

Most recently, Ms. Norman served as the senior producer for the PBS special 180 Days: A Year Inside An American High School, where she was responsible for the production management, budget development and oversight, content supervision, legal and post-production oversight, and outreach and engagement development, creation and implementation.

An experienced production executive, Ms. Norman served as the Executive Director of Filmmakers Collaborative and Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of JumpStart Productions. While at JumpStart, she was the Executive In Charge of the award-winning PBS series NOW. Ms. Norman also served as Vice President and Production Executive of David Grubin Productions and worked on award-winning productions such as The Secret Life of the Brain, Napoleon and Abraham and Mary Lincoln: A House Divided. She also worked as a grant reviewer for the National Endowment for the Humanities and National Science Foundation,

Ms. Norman has received numerous honors for creative achievement including Emmy awards for her work on NOW and the Edward R. Murrow award from the Overseas Press Club for her senior producing role on the film Child Brides, Stolen Lives. She was a panelist at Silverdocs, a program participant at RealScreen and produced several panels for the World Congress of Science and Factual Producers. Ms. Norman holds a master’s degree in broadcast journalism from Boston University and a bachelor’s degree in government from Skidmore College.

Now in its 26th season on PBS, American Masters has earned 24 Emmy Awards — including eight for Outstanding Non-Fiction Series since 1999 and five for Outstanding Non-Fiction Special — 12 Peabodys, an Oscar, three Grammys, and two Producers Guild Awards. American Masters is a production of THIRTEEN. The series is made possible by the support of the National Endowment for the Arts and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Additional funding for American Masters is provided by Rosalind P. Walter, Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, The Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation, Rolf and Elizabeth Rosenthal, Jack Rudin, Vital Projects Fund, The André and Elizabeth Kertész Foundation, Michael & Helen Schaffer Foundation, and public television viewers.


About WNET
In 2013, WNET is celebrating the 50th Anniversary of THIRTEEN, New York’s flagship public media provider. As the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to over 5 million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as NatureGreat PerformancesAmerican MastersNeed to KnowCharlie Rose and a range of documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings available on air and online. Pioneers in educational programming, WNET has created such groundbreaking series as Get the MathOh Noah! andCyberchase and provides tools for educators that bring compelling content to life in the classroom and at home. WNET highlights the tri-state’s unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTSReel 13NJ Today and MetroFocus, the multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region. WNET is also a leader in connecting with viewers on emerging platforms, including the THIRTEEN Explore iPad App where users can stream PBS content for free.