Former President and CEO of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS)
and Current President and CEO of the Paley Center for Media
Since becoming President and CEO of the Paley Center for Media, formerly The Museum of Television and Radio (headquartered in New York and Los Angeles), Pat has rebranded and strengthened the 34-year old institution. She was previously president and CEO of the Public Broadcasting Service (“PBS”) and has been an acclaimed reporter, news anchor, talk show host, and producer. As an executive producer for Ted Turner’s cable networks, her productions have received 37 Emmy awards, five Peabody awards. And two academy award nominations. She was born in Georgia, and received her BA and Masters degrees from the University of Georgia. She also served on the faculty for five years. Mitchell left academia in 1970 to pursue a career in journalism with a position at LOOK Magazine, a national news weekly. When LOOK ceased publication later that year, Pat pursued the opportunity to write and produce for NBC network, becoming one of the first women to be hired by the networks as a producer/writer/reporter.
During the next twenty years she worked as a broadcast journalist and producer, reporter and news anchor with prominent positions at NBC, CBS and ABC networks. In 1980, she launched her own independent production company, producing documentaries, series and specials focused on the issues of women and children. Among her many accomplishments as founding President of VU Productions was the national series, “Woman to Woman”, for which Mitchell received an Emmy and was the first woman to host, produce and own her own television program.
Lured by the opportunity to work with media entrepreneur, Ted Turner, Mitchell moved to Atlanta in 1992, becoming the head of Turner Original Productions and after the merger of Turner Broadcasting Company with Time Warner, she became the President of Time Inc. Television and CNN Productions. Programs produced under her direction were awarded 44 Emmys for journalistic excellence, five Peabody Awards and two Academy Award nominations.
In 2000, Mitchell was named President and Chief Executive Officer of PBS, the Public Broadcasting Service in the US, the first woman and first producer and journalist to hold the position. Under Mitchell’s leadership, PBS led the digital transition for the public service media industry of 355 local public television stations, and commissioned the development of many new projects, including the launch of a high-definition PBS channel and a new cable preschool children’s service, new, award winning public affairs series, and the growth of PBS’s website (pbs.org) into one of the three most visited sites on the Internet.
In 2006, Mitchell accepted the challenge of reinvigorating and repositioning the Museum of TV and Radio which she and her Board of media leaders, renamed the Paley Center for Media, as a high level convener of forums and dialogues for global media executives and media consumers with programs in NY, LA and around the world.
The Paley Center, established more than 30 years ago by early media pioneer and founder of CBS network, William S. Paley, is the largest public archive of television and radio programs with more than 150,000 titles available to the public and is also considered the foremost convener of media executives and thought leaders for forums, dialogues and conferences on the critical business issues facing the media industry. Additionally, the public programs the Paley Center offer media consumers and enthusiasts a unique lens of media, past, present and future to focus on the power and influence of media across all sectors of life and society.
Pat Mitchell has received numerous personal awards including Woman of the Year in Cable and Telecommunications, the CINE Golden Eagle for Lifetime Achievement, the Sandra Day O’Connor Award for Leadership, and was recently named to the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame. She is on the Hollywood Reporter’s Most Powerful Women’s List and serves on many non profit Boards: Vice-chair of the Sundance Institute; founding board President of Global Green, USA, Mikhail Gorbachev’s global environmental organization, a Trustee of the Mayo Clinic, and is an advisor to the Center for Public Leadership at the Kennedy School of Harvard University. Mitchell is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
She and her husband, Scott Seydel, have six children and ten grandchildren and reside in New York and Atlanta, Georgia.