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ON-AIR Women

Doris Burke

SCENE NOW: If you're espying men or women taking it to the tin on either the collegiate or professional level, you want Burke on the beat, analyzing the action. Burke has been working for ESPN since 1991, CBS Sports since 1998 and Madison Square Garden Network the same year as analyst for the WNBA's New York Liberty. Last year, she expanded her game to include sideline reporting NBA duties on the total sports network.

SCENES BEFORE: When she talks hoops, Burke knows from whence she speaks: She finished her career at Providence College as the school's all-time assist leader. She's also broken down Xs and Os on the radio and for NESN and SportsChannel.

Rebecca Cole

SCENE NOW: Co-host of Discovery Channel's Surprise By Design, Cole is a diva when it comes to imparting her acumen about restyling interior and exteriors alike. Never meeting a living room or an ugly kitchen that she couldn't give a new lease on life, Cole's knowledge, grace and rapport with co-host Robert Verdi has been transformed into a daytime-winning design for Discovery when it comes to driving ratings.

SCENES BEFORE: Cole, owner of the acclaimed Manhattan-based interior, floral-and-garden design business, Cole Creates, is a frequent contributor to the Today Show, and turns up regularly on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CNN and BBC World News. Her Fearless Gardening line is sold on QVC. As an author, her most recent entry, Flower Power, was released along with an extensive gift line.

Rita Cosby

SCENE NOW: She's all over the Fox News Channel dial: hosting weekend programs The Big Story Weekend and Fox News Live with Rita Cosby, and contributing as a senior correspondent for the network. Her work covering breaking news domestically and abroad has yielded interviews with Presidents Bill Clinton, George Bush Sr. and Gerald Ford, as well as such world leaders as Ariel Sharon, Yasser Arafat and former Yugoslavian president Slobodan Milosevic. She was also in the limelight for her conversations with boxer Mike Tyson and convicted serial killer David "Son of Sam" Berkowitz, who wrote to her during the D.C. Sniper shootings in October 2002. As that story unfolded, Cosby secured another major first by being the initial journalist to report the names and license-plate numbers of the sniper suspects.

SCENES BEFORE: Cosby joined the network from WBTV, the CBS affiliate in Charlotte, North Carolina. During her tenure there, she broke numerous stories, including Susan Smith's drowning of her two young sons, and that NBA superstar Michael Jordan's father was murdered. Cosby has received numerous awards and honors, including the National Foundation for Women Legislators' 2003 media award for excellence, the 2002 Association of Women in Communications Headliner Award and the Jack Anderson Award, both for journalism excellence.

Diane Dimond

SCENE NOW: Dimond is the host of Court TV's Hollywood At Large, the weekly show that examines the intersection of crime, justice and popular culture. Dimond also serves as a daytime contributor, guest-hosting the network's trial coverage, and filling in as host of Catherine Crier Live. Of course, she's made her own share of headlines of late, as she was on the scene when police raided Michael Jackson's Neverland ranch, after the latest round of sexual charges against the entertainer. Dimond, who was on the beat back in 1993 during the first round of child sexual allegations against the erstwhile "King of Pop," will continue to ply the Jackson trade: She recently signed up as a legal analyst for NBC's Today.

SCENES BEFORE: Prior to joining Court TV, Dimond provided reports on terrorism for Fox News Channel. She's also done turns at Hard Copy, as well as MSNBC and CNBC. After beginning her career in radio — starting with anchoring newscasts for National Public Radio's All Things Considered— she made the TV move, joining WCBS-TV in New York in 1986.

Sue Johanson

SCENE NOW: This millennium's answer to Dr. Ruth, Johanson imparts lessons in libido late nights on Oxygen. A Canadian import, Americans probably didn't realize our neighbors to the north were so caught or hung up on sex, eh. The women's-targeted channel brought her to the U.S. with Talk Sex With Sue Johanson
in November 2002 and we've been talking ever since about the non-judgmental guidance she provides on the topics of love, relationships and various "nasty" acts.

SCENES BEFORE: A registered nurse, Johanson established a birth-control clinic in 1970, and began teaching sex and sexuality courses in 1974; she continues to make such presentations each year. In March 1984, Johanson began hosting the radio program Sunday Night Sex Show, originally on Q107 then on AM640 in Canada. In February 1996, the show changed mediums and went national on WTN, the Women's Television Network, where it's in its ninth season. Johanson, who has authored three books, also writes a weekly column titled "Health" for the Toronto Star.

Ellen Muth

SCENE NOW: In Showtime's quirky series Dead Like Me, Muth portrays 'George' Lass, a disaffected teen whose life is flushed when she is struck by a dislodged toilet seat from the Mir space station. The first season saw George getting in touch with her afterlife fate as a grim reaper, a taker of souls. Mature beyond her years, Muth's George conveys life lessons lost and missed through narration and in an understated comedic, bittersweet delivery. The second season begins this summer.

SCENES BEFORE: At 14, Muth met up with author Stephen King as young Selena in the feature adaptation of his novel Dolores Claiborne. She has also been seen in Rain and A Gentleman's Game. She earned the AFI Los Angeles International Film Festival's best actress award in her first starring role as Constance in The Young Girl & The Monsoon. On the small screen, she's been in a pair of Law & Order installments and the miniseries Superfire and Only Love, as well as the telefilms Two Against Time, The Truth About Jane and Cora, Unashamed.

Soledad O'Brien

SCENE NOW: Returned to the cable side last July, following a four-year run as the anchor of NBC News Weekend Today, O'Brien entered the morning news fray, anchoring CNN's American Morning with Bill Hemmer. Based in New York, she brings journalistic chops earned from her coverage of notable stories related to JFK Jr.'s plane crash, school shootings in Colorado and Oregon, and last year's war in Iraq.

SCENES BEFORE: Prior to Weekend Today, O'Brien anchored MSNBC's technology program, The Site, as well as the net's weekend morning show. She joined NBC News in 1991 in New York, where she worked as a field producer for the Nightly News and Today. Before becoming a member of the Peacock's network fold, the Harvard graduate served three years as a local reporter and bureau chief for NBC affiliate KRON-TV in San Francisco. She began her career as an associate producer and news writer at then-NBC affiliate WBZ-TV in Boston.

CCH Pounder

SCENE NOW: As Michael Chiklis's Vic Mackey runs amok in corruption on The Shield, FX's hit cop series needs someone to serve as an internal foil. Who better than Pounder's detective Claudette Wyms, who maintains a watchful scrutiny and supplies a measure of probity that helps center the show. The
Shield
's third season is set to bow March 9 and we're sure Pounder will again turn in a powerful performance as she plays both sides of the legal fence.

SCENES BEFORE: Pounder is a veteran of almost 20 feature films, including Bagdad Café, Prizzi's Honor, Postcards From the Edge, Benny & Joon, Face/Off, Robocop 3 and End of Days. She received a best supporting actress Emmy nomination for ER and an Emmy nomination for The X-Files as outstanding guest actress in a drama. For The Shield, she copped a Golden Satellite Award and an NAACP Image Award nomination. Other television appearances include memorable roles in Millennium, LA Law, Sweet Justice, The West Wing, The Practice, Law & Order: SVU and HBO's Disappearing Acts, Boycott and Unchained Memories: Readings from the Slave Narratives.

Raven

SCENE NOW: With production winding down on its hits Lizzie McGuire and Even Stevens, Disney Channel needed another teen show to step to the fore. Befitting her now single-name status, the 18-year-old has done just that with That's So Raven, where she plays a charismatic teen whose ability to see flashes of the future trips her into all kinds of comedic misadventures. The show's premiere on Jan. 17, 2003 set a host of network ratings records for an original series bow and the momentum continued throughout the year. The show finished first in its Friday 7 p.m. time slot among households and various kids demos. Raven also supplies the voice of Monique on the net's animated series Kim Possible. Next up: She'll star in Walt Disney Studios feature All-American Girl
and a Warner Bros. remake of Sparkle.

SCENES BEFORE: We were introduced to then Raven Symond as a 3-year-old on The Cosby Show
and later Hangin' With Mr. Cooper. She also played the lead in the musical The Cheetah Girls, the August Disney Channel telefilm that was basic cable's highest-rated movie in 2003 among kids 6-11.

Rachel Ray

SCENE NOW: In a whirlwind world, Food Network ordered the right cook for those who can't spend a lot of time in the kitchen, but still want to produce a fanciful, delectable menu. Ray's 30 Minute Meals provides culinary class on the quick, and at that right time—it's stripped weekdays at 2:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. For those who like to eat well, but don't have a flush wallet or much time to prepare, Ray also scouts out places where you can dine almost like a queen or king on $40 A Day.

SCENES BEFORE: Ray's food roots run deep: her family ran a Cape Cod restaurant before relocating to upstate New York, where her mother was the supervisor for a chain of restaurants. In Albany, she worked as a gourmet store buyer and chef at Cowan & Lobel, where in-store classes attracted local media attention. WRGB-TV/CBS Albany-Schenectady approached Ray about doing a weekly segment, 30-Minute Meals, for the evening news. That segment earned her two regional Emmy nominations in her first year.

Joely Richardson

SCENE NOW: Richardson plays the female lead on FX's hit plastic surgeon series, the Golden Globe-nominated Nip/Tuck. Her conflicted portrayal of Julia McNamara, the wife of one of the show's protagonists and a woman with a past (and perhaps a son) with his best friend and partner, has created a lot of buzz — not to mention a Golden Globe nomination for best actress in a drama. Not bad for someone making her U.S. TV debut.

SCENES BEFORE: Richardson started her career training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. Her most recent stage credits: Madame Melville and Oscar Wilde's Lady Windemere's Fan. Her first feature film role was playing her mother Vanessa Redgrave's character as a young girl in Wetherby. She has also appeared in Lady Chatterley's Lover and The Patriot.

Bitty Schram

SCENE NOW: Her fervent gal Friday turn as Sharona Fleming to Tony Shalub's obsessive-compulsive detective Adrian in the USA Network hit Monk makes for great small-screen chemistry and more than a few laughs. Obviously, we're not alone in checking in on Schram: By the time you read this, we'll know if her performance has earned a Golden Globe to match her co-star's from last year. (The series and Shalub are also nominated this go-around.)

SCENES BEFORE: In addition to Monk's new season, which began on Jan. 16, you should check out Schram's film debut role as sobbing rightfielder Evelyn Gardner in A League Of Their Own. Her film credits also include Kissing a Fool, One Fine Day, Sure Hand of God and Unconditional Love. She's graced the stage in Neil Simon's Laughter on the 23rd Floor, with Nathan Lane, and worked Off Broadway in Blackout.