Lisa Ling (凌志慧 Líng Zhìhuì) is an American television journalist, born in Carmichael, California on August 30, 1973. Her parents divorced when she was age 7, and partially because of this, she bonded more to her younger sister Laura. Her first appearance was on a local news show called 'Scratch', who recruited her out of a casting call in a Sacramento mall. Scratch was nationally syndicated, drawing the attention of Channel One News at age 18. By age 25, she was named senior war correspondent. She was also doing desk work with Anderson Cooper, who was also at Channel One at the time.
In 1999, Ling won a seat on The View
to replace the outgoing Debbie Matenopoulos. Which she enjoyed, but her idea of compelling television and production's idea of compelling television were often at odds: Ling wanted to cover more serious topics; everyone else wanted to gossip about celebrities. The matter came to a head in the wake of 9/11, and Ling left in 2002 for National Geographic Explorer, and a side job as special correspondent for The Oprah Winfrey Show
Odds are, you still know Lisa from The View
. Most of the media sure does.
In 2009, Laura, along with Euna Lee, were captured by North Korean border guards while filming a documentary about refugees fleeing into China, and were subsequently held for 4 1/2 months.
If you don't know Lisa from The View, odds are you know her from the media campaign she waged to get her sister back.
Lisa is currently the host of Our America With Lisa Ling
, a documentary series on OWN. During her tenure, she took a side job as host of The Job, a job-interview reality competition on CBS, but it only lasted two episodes before getting cancelled due to a combination of getting assigned the Friday Night Death Slot
, some rather major Unfortunate Implications
that implied that society was getting to the point where you'd pretty much have to go on a reality show just to find basic employment in America (the jobs on offer pulled down salaries in about the $50,000/year range, far short of the amounts offered by competing shows), and some alleged improper questions being asked in the interviews themselves.
Ling attended the University of Southern Caifornia, and is fluent in Spanish. She's been married to radiation oncologist Paul Song since 2007, and gave birth to a daughter, Jett, in March 2013.
Tropes involving Lisa Ling:
- Celebrity Resemblance: She's been mistaken for Lucy Liu quite a few times.
- Cool Big Sis
- Determinator: Laura's in trouble? She will get Laura back. Killing a Terminator is easier than getting rid of Lisa.
- Executive Meddling: Most of her tenure on The View, really. She's more suited to documentaries and reporting from the field on very heavy topics. She'll talk about Brad Pitt and Miley Cyrus; she just doesn't like making a habit of it.
- Going for the Big Scoop: Anyone that can obtain a job title of "senior war correspondent" at age 25 is going to earn this trope easy.
- Intrepid Reporter: Did you hear the part about 'senior war correspondent at age 25'? Because I think we covered that part.
- Law of Inverse Fertility: In 2004, Lisa did a story called 'China's Lost Girls', about girls adopted from China. When she got a look at the Western parents seeing their new daughters for the first time, she completely squeed out and said, "I want one." Eight years and one miscarriage later, she got one.
- Nature Lover: Her house in Santa Monica is carbon-neutral and reused every last scrap of material from the house that previously stood there.
- Plucky Girl: At one point in Lisa and Laura's book, Somewhere Inside, Lisa tells about how, after already having secured the services of Barack Obama, she was told to wrangle the services of a U.S. President in order to get Laura home from North Korea. She went and got Jimmy Carter. A phone call from North Korea then reveals she got the wrong President and now she had to go wrangle Bill Clinton, and she'd better do so fast. After the call had ended, Lisa commenced what was probably the most intense and sustained blue streak of her life... and then she went and got him too.
- Sibling Team: Lisa used to be significantly more well-known than Laura, who was chiefly known for working on Current TV as part of the Vanguard team. After the North Korea incident (and the resultant book they wrote together), Laura got quite the upgrade. They've started to be referred to as "the Ling sisters".
- Too Soon: The incident that more or less led to her leaving The View. She had a principle of trying to say one thing per show that got people to think, even if it was something that made them want to throw something at the screen. Boy, did that ever happen after 9/11. She commented, "What happened to the United States was a catastrophic event and the worst terrorist attack in human history. Yet maybe before we seek revenge, we should ask the question – why should anyone want to make such an attack on the U.S.?" In hindsight, a very reasonable thing to say. During America's grieving period, though, a lot of viewers were in no mood to hear it. Some of the viewers wrote in telling her to "go back to China". Over a decade later, though, there are no hard feelings.
Lisa Ling appears in: