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O’Connell talks television

REBECCA MORIARTY | Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Content will continue to be the most important aspect in the future of the rapidly changing television industry, Katie O’Connell told students in a lecture Monday night.

O’Connell, senior vice president of drama development for NBC, graduated from Notre Dame in 1991 and has experience as an executive producer for NBC and CBS.

She has also worked on major television shows such as 30 Rock, 24 and Law and Order.

“Content will always be king,” she said. “Television is changing so rapidly, so the biggest piece of advice I can give you is to be on top of it.”

Many of the students who attended O’Connell’s lecture were Film, Television and Theatre majors. She said they were lucky because that major did not exist when she was a student at Notre Dame. She graduated with a degree in American Studies.

O’Connell began her lecture by describing the many different types of jobs that are available in the television industry today, including careers with networks, as managers and agents or as members of television shows’ creative teams.

She discussed the most well-known jobs in the industry, but also encouraged students to explore lesser-known jobs.

Students should save their money if they plan to move to Los Angeles, O’Connell said, as it is difficult to find a steady income in the field of television.

O’Connell concluded the lecture with her thoughts on the future of television. She said the television business was moving toward becoming entirely digital, and mentioned the newly available online rentals of Apple and Amazon.

“Work with the architects of change,” she said.

O’Connell said although the transition into a more digital version of television may not occur in the next five years, but it will happen in the lifetime of today’s college students.