‘Network”s Diana Christensen: Indifferent to Suffering, Insensitive to Joy

In the 42 years since the release of Sidney Lumet’s Oscar-winning film Network, much has been written about Faye Dunaway’s Diana Christensen. When we first meet Diana, she is the sole woman in a room of men. As the vice president of programming for the fictitious network UBS, she is the archetypal woman in a man’s world: cold hearted, ambitious and ruthless. She’s broken glass ceilings, surpassed the expectations of men and proven herself to be their equal.

It is due to Diana’s pragmatism that, when former anchor Howard Beale goes on a frantic tirade about the depravity of the world around him, threatening to commit suicide on-air, it becomes something of an opportunity to salvage the network’s declining ratings. She steps in, demanding the handover of the evening news from the news department to her entertainment department for management, and prompting significant change in the workings of the network.

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