Women Behind TV One | Michelle L. Rice

President, TV One and CLEO TV

During Women’s History Month, the world highlights the contributions of women throughout history!

At TV One, we are celebrating Black women who have broken down barriers to excel against the odds in their fields, and whose actions have made profound and lasting impacts on American culture. Among the women paving the way and inspiring, uplifting, and empowering Black women, are actually those behind our network.

Join us throughout the month of March, as we pull back the curtain to highlight our own! In Q&A style, learn more about the women who make things happen every day at TV One with their hard work and dedication.

Introducing Michelle L. Rice

What led you to TV One?

I relocated to the DC area and learned of the partnership between Radio One and Comcast. After reading about the partnership, and understanding the mission of the network, I knew I wanted to work there. I reached out to the first CEO, Johnathan Rodgers, and convinced him to give me a job.

Why is it important for women to have a seat at the table, especially in the entertainment industry?

It’s important that women have a seat at the table because representation matters. Women leaders are more likely to be advocates for diverse work environments and for providing diversity of thought, insight, and perspective. It’s important to have an equitable and well represented work force. Your work force should reflect the world. Women leaders also are known for having the unique combination of smarts and emotional intelligence that is required to effectively lead teams and collaborate. Women leaders are uniquely qualified to create positive work cultures.

If you could only pick one, who is the most influential woman you know? And how does she inspire you?

Between my grandmother and mother, I can’t pick just one. They inspire me equally. Both are responsible for me becoming the woman I am, watching how they navigated the role of women during their lifetimes. Women didn’t have as many opportunities as they do now. Each, in their own way, ensured that I had all the advantages and opportunities to encourage me to be successful and understand that being women is not a handicap. It’s actually a benefit and we bring a lot to the table. Because of their love, care, and encouragement, and watching their example, I believe that’s what gives me the fortitude, courage, and fearlessness to do what I need to do as a leader, mother and female in my community.

What advice do you have for young women starting out in their careers?

Be fearless. Fearless doesn’t mean that you do things without being afraid, it means you do it afraid. You must take risks and chances and can’t be afraid of failing and making mistakes. You always have the opportunity to start again. Don’t be afraid to fail. I don’t consider those failures — they are opportunities to pivot. There’s power in the pivot. It gives you an opportunity to reassess where you’ve been and how to move forward. The pivot ensures success by providing meaningful insight to knowledge on how to obtain the goal.

What legacy would you like to leave?

I would like to leave the world in a better place than how I found it, for my children, grandchildren and all generations to come. But particularly for women.

Michelle Rice was named President of TV One and CLEO TV in October 2020. Previously, Rice served as General Manager since 2017. She will continue to have oversight of all business, operational and creative aspects for both networks. Rice shepherded the development and launch of TV One’s new sister network, CLEO TV, an aspirational lifestyle and entertainment TV network serving Millennial and Gen X women of color that launched in January 2019. Since its launch, Rice has successfully leveraged relationships to expand distribution of CLEO TV on AT&T, Charter, Comcast, and Verizon’s platforms. Under her leadership, TV One solidified its first vMVPD distribution deal with Philo TV and has continued to grow its distribution footprint. She has also played a pivotal role in working with strategic partners like the NAACP to create linear and digital content campaigns in response to a myriad of political and social issues that profoundly impact communities of color.