Two Sentence Horror Stories
She didn't know it at the time, but watching Wonder Woman as a girl helped Diana Mogollón discover a superpower of her own.
As a first-generation Latina American growing up in Mexico and Colombia, she loved U.S. TV shows, especially that '70s series about a crime-fighting Amazon princess played by Lynda Carter.
"I reacted to the strong female characters," Mogollón recalls. "But on the negative side, there weren't any Latino images I could relate to."
When her family moved back to L.A., she was a bicultural, bilingual teenager. Not surprisingly, she says, "I felt different. I kept looking for Latina representation and stories." It wasn't until she was studying communications at Loyola Marymount University that she realized she could create those images herself. "What excited me most was being able to craft my own characters and stories with representation woven in. It was a way to connect the dots."
Now, as senior vice-president and general manager of the Warner Bros.–owned production company Stage 13, Mogollón pioneers the kind of cross-cultural shows she craved in her youth. "We're on a mission," she says. "It started with programming for Latino audiences, but now it's about diversity and inclusion for all cultures across the board."
After an internship at Lifetime, Mogollón joined the nternational division at Fox, focusing on programming for Latinx and Latin-American audiences. She then moved to NBCUniversal, first at Telemundo and then at the entertainment cable network mun2.
As general manager, she helped develop bilingual reality shows such as I Love Jenni and Chiquis 'n Control. With their Latino-American stars, they brought mun2 its highest ratings ever. "There was a Latino-American audience that wasn't being spoken to," she says. "We wanted to create really cool shows that weren't defined by language, but by showing the culture."
She moved to Warner Bros. in 2015 to create Stage 13, and after a year of business development, launched the brand and started building her team.
"We had a very clear mandate, which was to make sure that as a 100-year-old studio we were relevant to young, ever more diverse audiences." The studio has accomplished that with shows like The CW's Two Sentence Horror Stories, an anthology frightfest that centers on people of color, and Netflix's Special, a semiautobiographical comedy created by and starring Ryan O'Connell, a gay man with cerebral palsy.
Behind the scenes, the Stage 13 team is 95 percent diverse (female, BIPOC, LGBTQ+). "We also support creators of color, many of them first-time directors," Mogollón adds. "We're a massive talent incubator."
Mogollón is looking to produce more unscripted fare, like HBO Max's Family Style, which features chefs and celebs exploring Asian cuisine, and Netflix's Marching Orders, a docuseries that follows the marching band at a historically Black college.
"I'm helping to create shows that I wish were available to me when I was young, but it goes beyond that," Mogollón says. "It's a multilayered, multicultural world — and programming should reflect that."
This article originally appeared in emmy magazine, Issue No. 10, 2021
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