Melinda Hage, Warner Bros. Executive VP, Current Programming
A career path, developed over time, led to the perfect fit
By Lindsay Rubino -- Broadcasting & Cable, 6/27/2011 12:01:00 AMClick here to read more Next Wave of Leaders
As Warner Bros. Television’s executive VP of current programming, Melinda Hage has found her niche.
The California native studied writing in college and spent the earlier part of her career figuring out what she didn’t want.
“I would get a job and say, ‘I love this and this and this, but these things—I’m not enjoying as much.’ It would be a little bit of a deal-breaker that would move me to whatever the next adventure was,” she recalls.
While working in development for Columbia Pictures Television, the frustration of preparing a project that would ultimately get passed over led her to production. And when she joined Warner Bros. Television in 1994, Hage finally found the role that combined what she loved about development and production, while allowing her to act as an editor.
“I realized that current [programming] is a blend of both. You have the creative elements and the production elements,” she says.
Hage and her team manage Warner Bros.’ programming for both cable channels and broadcast networks, including the much-anticipated retooled Two and a Half Men, with Ashton Kutcher. She points to Chuck Lorre—who created both Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory, both on CBS—as “incredibly important to [Warner Bros. TV] and delivers the master's class of comedy."
Hage maintains that keeping all of the shows alive on the air is what she looks forward to each season.
“I don’t play favorites, because they are our children, and we love and nurture them all,” she says. “We obviously have some high-profile shows that are coming in, from high-profile auspices,” she says.
This coming season will bring new comedies—2 Broke Girls, Suburgatory, I Hate My Teenage Daughter—and dramas such as Alcatraz, Person of Interest, The Secret Circle and Hart of Dixie.
“We still remain an independent studio. So I think the pressure is even more profoundly on us to deliver the highest possible quality,” Hage says. Her 16-year tenure at Warner Bros. Television has included shows such as Smallville, which recently ended its 10-year run, and The Vampire Diaries, The CW’s highest-rated series.
As to her loyalty to the studio, Hage credits Peter Roth, WBTV president.
“I could not have a stronger mentor than Peter. He supports us, he inspires us, and for that reason, I feel like, why would I want to do this job anywhere other than here?”
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