"Most mission statements would say, 'To be the largest provider of kids' entertainment in the world.' We didn't do that. [Nickelodeon] had a mission statement which was: 'To connect kids with each other and with their world through entertainment.' Now, that is a big idea."
About This Interview
In her three-hour Archive interview, Geraldine Laybourne talks about her early interests in education and visual media for children. She chronicles her role (and that of her husband Kit Laybourne) in the creation of Media Center for Children and Early Bird Specials Company and the independent productions she developed including Video Dream Theatre, an animated program based on the dreams of children. She speaks about her early years at Nickelodeon, where she joined as program manager in 1980. She talks about creating Nick at Nite, which featured classic television programming. She also speaks about several of the popular shows that appeared on Nickelodeon, including You Can't Do That on Television, Rugrats, Double Dare, The Ren and Stimpy Show and the children's news show Nick News. Moving up the ladder, she became the network's President in 1989. She notes that her greatest contribution as head of the network was to "always be on the side of kids." She comments on her tenures at MTV Networks and Disney/ABC in the mid-90s. She then speaks in great detail about serving as CEO and Chairman of the Oxygen Media Group and her involvement in co-founding the Oxygen Network. She talks about the other principles of the company, the network's initial programming, and its branding. She also discusses 9/11, and how, with its transmission center at ground zero, Oxygen was knocked off the air. B-roll consists of over twenty photos related to her career. Jane Altschuler conducted the interview in a joint venture with New York Women in Film & Television, on August 25, 2008 in New York, NY.