A global look at the lives, life styles and achievements of today's women around the world is upcoming on television in an ambitious series of seven one-hour specials, "Women of the World."
The first program, "Women of Intrigue," is being syndicated this month on more than 100 television stations, including KHJ-TV in Los Angeles, where it will air Sunday at 8 p.m. (Channel 9). Hosted by actress Jacqueline Bisset, the one-hour documentary profiles famous and not-so-famous women, ranging from a Japanese geisha to a German-born Nazi hunter to Yoko Ono.
"It's women's time, world-wide," said series executive producer Sandra Carter in discussing the aim of the series. "This series is simply intended as a long overdue acknowledgement of the strides women have made in diverse cultures of the world. No matter where they live, they are close to one another in their spirit and values," she said.
Other topics in the series, which is scheduled to resume syndication next fall through next spring, are "Women Who Have It All," "Health, Fashion and Beauty," "Women in Change," "Love, Romance, Marriage and Family," "Women on Men, Men on Women, Women on Women" and "Women in Sports." Other hosts include actress Diahann Carroll, tennis pro Chris Evert Lloyd and Madame Jehan Sadat, widow of the late Egyptian president.
Carter, an independent producer whose previous television credits include a special on "Women of Russia," said she encountered great difficulty finding interest and funding for the series. The interest she did find, on the part of unidentified "pay cable networks," was qualified on the condition that "sexual aspects," including nudity, be incorporated in the series, she said.
On that basis, she declined. However, on the basis of her own short pilot, Carter enlisted the sponsorship of Oil of Olay and the syndication commitment of King World Enterprises that enabled her to produce the $3.5 million series on locations in 20 countries around the world.
Noting that only two women so far have declined to participate, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Britain's Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Carter said she still is recruiting subjects for the series, including San Francisco Mayor Dianne Feinstein and the wife of Soviet Prime Minister Mikhail Gorbachev. "This is truly one woman American women want to know," Carter said.
"Women in this country, as elsewhere, are more curious than ever about other women and their roles," Carter observed, adding, "but it is still difficult to learn about them, and often you really have to dig. Hopefully, this series will help break ground by generating more interest and more awareness."