by JENNIFER FRAKES | photo by Soul of Photography

This Television Producer, Art and Nature Enthusiast is Living Life to the Fullest in 92024

For Marianne Gerdes, television seems to have a way of finding her, even when she least expects it. Her undergraduate degree was in television and radio production, with an emphasis on news gathering, but she found out early on that reporting news was not her passion. “I switched gears and focused on writing. I ended up at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School pursuing a career in magazine management. When I took my first marketing job, the company had a television studio on the premises, so I was led back to television,” explained Marianne. Throughout her career, she has focused on corporate television, training, promotional videos, and most recently, producing shows for public television. She has won four Emmy awards and has been nominated seventeen times! She has also received an Iris Award from the National Association of Television Programmers and a Press Club Award.

Currently, Marianne produces A Growing Passion which airs on KPBS-TV on Thursday evenings and Saturday afternoons. She is also starting work on a documentary for a San Diego-based environmental story that will air in 2016. “Working in longer format programming and sustaining a story for thirty minutes or sixty minutes (or longer) takes a tremendous amount of work in the planning and execution. It’s only successful if you have a team of professionals to work with you. [Working in longer format programming] is a culmination of all the skills I’ve developed during my career,” revealed Marianne.

When Marianne is not in the television studio, she loves being outdoors and is especially fond of art, architecture and the natural world. She is the executive director of artist James Hubbell’s nonprofit, the Ilan-Lael Foundation. “The Hubbell property in Santa Ysabel is an amazing blend of built and natural world. I love being out there and letting my eyes rest on the mountains and smelling the sage and Manzanita. And the art is pretty spectacular too,” stated Marianne. She, her husband and sons also enjoy spending time at Balboa Park and are members of the San Diego Model Railroad Museum.

Marianne has lived in San Diego’s northern coastal community since 1985, and can’t imagine being anywhere else. She grew up in upstate New York, and after earning her graduate degree, she headed west looking for new opportunities. “I had a job interview at Palm Springs Magazine, but I never made it to the desert once I found North County,” revealed Marianne.


Name: Marianne Gerdes
Profession: Television Producer
Community: Encinitas since 1985
Hobbies/Interests: Gardens, art, architecture, history
Favorite Local Spots: Torrey Pines, San Diego Botanic Garden