Local educator gets look inside Hollywood institutions

Twenty professors from U.S. universities, including Heidelberg University’s Julie O’Reilly, joined the Television Academy Foundation for its annual faculty seminar in North Hollywood, Calif.

O’Reilly, assistant professor of communication and women’s and gender studies, said she has wanted to attend the seminar for several years.

The five-day seminar included information sessions from several television executives, fundamentals of the business and the chance to tour major on-site facilities.

O’Reilly said she and the group got to sit in on a taping of “The Arsenio Hall Show” and visit the sites of “The Big Bang Theory” and “Two and a Half Men.”

“It was really exciting to get a behind-the-scenes perspective and to see how TV comes together,” O’Reilly said.

She said they got to see and hold an Emmy, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences award.

“It is as big and as heavy as you could imagine,” O’Reilly said.

O’Reilly released a book in July, titled “Bewitched Again: Supernaturally Powerful Women on Television 1996-2011.” She analyzed characters from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Charmed,” “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” and more.

The idea for the book stemmed from O’Reilly’s college dissertation, she said. The final product took her three years to complete with revisions and editing.

Some of the themes O’Reilly touched on were empowerment versus powerment and the difference between male characters and female characters.

O’Reilly said her challenge was expanding on the dissertation and writing for a broader audience. She enjoyed writing and researching for the book, she said.

Now, she said she is considering doing a book on television’s women pioneers, including early stars and writers.

“From looking at fictional women, I want to look at actual women in TV and how they came to be,” O’Reilly said.