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Maureen Ryan Becomes Chief TV Critic at Variety

Maureen Ryan Becomes Chief TV Critic at Variety

The age of Peak TV calls for Peak TV criticism. Not long after the Hollywood Reporter added former HitFix critic Daniel Fienberg to work alongside Tim Goodman, industry bible Variety is rising to the challenge by hiring the Huffington Post’s Maureen Ryan. Ryan will hold the same title, Chief TV Critic, as current critic Brian Lowry.


At HuffPo, where she came in 2010 from the Chicago Tribune, Ryan specialized in lengthy, generously annotated essays that wove together criticism, reporting and industry analysis, all of which will fall under the purview of her new position. In “Netflix, Binging and Quality Control in the Age of Peak TV,” she wrote:

“Covering TV for the past 15 years has taught me that the best shows tend to have two elements embedded in their DNA: Collaboration and tension. I don’t mean conflict, not exactly, which is not unknown on the sets of ambitious shows, of course. Conflict is inevitable when grown people work together on any project for any length of time. But what I’m referring to is the kind of creative tension that exists when people who work together don’t always agree but find ways to let the better and smarter ideas win. Sharp people questioning each other, pushing each other, testing each other and leading each other to epiphanies — those are among the conditions that can lead to great TV, and sometimes those exchanges involve executives who care and know television. They exist, and right about now, I wish there were more of them. Maybe they exist at Amazon and Netflix, but if so, I wish their bosses weren’t so disparaging of the work they were (possibly) hired to do.”

At Variety, Ryan will be even better positioned to keep tabs on the industry, and maybe even to help change it a little.

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