CNN Senior Vice President Wendy Walker is the senior executive producer of Larry King Live. In this capacity, she is responsible for the overall planning and production of the world’s first live, globally televised viewer call-in show and the network’s highest-rated program. Walker has been at the helm of CNN’s top-ranked, critically acclaimed talk show since August 1993. During her tenure, Larry King Live has established an unrivaled reputation for guest bookings and program quality. Walker’s success at landing the most competitive interviews and A-list guests, prompted Barbara Walters to describe her as “relentless.”
While she may have previously been unseen and unrecognized, Walker’s work has shaped all of our lives. She has arranged some of the most iconic interviews of our time. For example, she orchestrated the 1993 NAFTA debate between Vice President Al Gore and Ross Perot; which remains, to this day, one of the highest rated programs in cable television history.
Starting as a secretary at ABC some 30 years ago, Walker climbed up the male-dominated world of television production. Her passion and work ethic are undeniable, but it has always been her heart that has been her guide. And it’s with the same zeal and loving spirituality that she shares her life at the podium and in her remarkable memoir, Producer: Lessons Shared from 30 Years in Television.
Emmy Magazine credits Walker’s “intuition and experience” with shaping the combination of newsmakers that is the key to Larry King Live’s success. Over the years, she has received numerous accolades. In March 2005, Walker was honored with the prestigious First Amendment Service Award by the Radio and Television Directors Foundation, along with CBS 60 Minutes anchor Ed Bradley.
In 1999, Walker’s orchestration of Larry King’s exclusive interview with Texas death row inmate Karla Faye Tucker became the first cable production ever to earn a News and Documentary Emmy in the Outstanding Interview/Interviewer category. In 1993, Larry King Live received the CableAce Award for Best Talk Show Series. The program is also a two-time winner of the Gracie Allan Award presented by American Women in Radio and Television and recipient of the Humane Society’s 2006 Genesis Award for Outstanding Talk Show.
Walker began her broadcast career at ABC. From there, she was recruited to help start CNN, where she has worked since the network’s debut in 1980. Before taking over Larry King Live, Walker spent a decade as CNN’s senior executive White House producer. She helped build CNN’s reputation with the White House from the ground up. She has also served as CNN’s senior event producer for eleven superpower summits in remote locations across the globe.
In addition to her work at CNN, Walker also serves on the board of Kids Korps, a national organization that involved children and young adults in volunteer mentoring programs. In March 2005, Kids Korps recognized her with its Individual Leadership Award for her long commitment to the organization. In 2004, she was honored by Adopt-a-Minefield for bringing attention to the international landmine crisis.
Walker has a Bachelor of Arts degree and an honorary doctorate of law from Hollins College and has two children.
Books:Producer, November 2010