Ellen Catherine Ryan
June 19, 1958 – May 10, 2018
Ellen Catherine Ryan, the EVP and General Manager of the Screen Engine/ASI TV Group, passed away suddenly this week in Los Angeles, Founder and CEO Kevin Goetz announced to the company on Thursday. Kevin described her as “one of the dearest, most talented and cherished members of our team, who is a legend in the television industry.”
Ellen began her three-decade television research career in 1986 at ASI, where she managed content testing for practically every network and studio in Hollywood. She was a staple of pilot season, and every producer, director and television executive appreciated her keen insights, attention to detail, and calm and professionalism during the often-hectic testing process.
In 1999, Ellen moved to Knoxville, TN, and became a Vice President of Research at Scripps Networks, where she oversaw ratings and primary research for the HGTV and DIY brands. Her knowledge and deep love of the shelter category, as well as her use of innovative research methodologies such as expert and consumer panels, contributed greatly to the growth and success of the HGTV and DIY networks.
After 13 years at Scripps, Ellen relocated back to Los Angeles to be closer to her ailing mother, joining Nielsen Content in 2012. Ellen oversaw content and creative testing for all of the company’s major network, studio and streaming clients, and was instrumental in building its successful Multicultural research practice.
In 2016, Ellen’s career came full circle, as she rejoined Screen Engine/ASI. She ran its television group, oversaw the operations of its Valley Village facility, introduced new methodologies and practices, and had just kicked off a major renovation of the facility.
A proud member of a military family, Ellen was born to U.S.M.C. Lt. Col. Phil Ryan and Navy Lt. Loree Ryan in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In her younger years she was a competitive ice skater, before earning her BA in French from Santa Clara University in 1981, where she participated in women’s crew and spent her junior year abroad in Nantes, France, inspiring her lifetime love of French culture and cuisine. In 1983, she earned her MBA in International Marketing and Cross-Cultural Communications from the Monterey Institute of International Studies (now known as the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey).
Ellen served as a mentor to many generations of researchers throughout the industry, who remember her with gratitude and great fondness for her kindness, wisdom, patience, fairness, moral clarity and willingness to fight for the underdog. Away from work, Ellen was a volunteer mediator, music aficionado and animal lover.
Ellen is survived by her extended family all along the East Coast and in Reedley, CA; her dogs, Samantha and Sandy; and many close friends in Los Angeles and elsewhere who miss her dearly. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Semper Fi Fund or Best Friends Animal Society. Service arrangements are pending.