Carole Black, president and CEO of Lifetime Entertainment Services, will exit at the end of her contract in March. She will continue to work with the board of directors and her yet-unnamed successor during the transition.
Black joined Lifetime in March 1999 and has since increased the channel’s programming in addition to launching spin-off channels Lifetime Movie Network and Lifetime Real Women. She has also been instrumental in expanding the network’s online, video and radio offerings.
Under Black, Lifetime has also stepped up its efforts to advocate for women’s issues including breast cancer, equal pay, child care, self-esteem and violence against women, gaining support from cable affiliates, local ad sales and Republican and Democratic politicians alike. Recently, the company helped get a bill signed into a law that will put rapists in jail.
“She built an impressive legacy and will be missed,” said Anne Sweeney, co-chairman of Disney’s Media Networks division and president of Disney-ABC Television Group.
Lifetime, owned by Disney and Hearst Corp., has grown under Black to be the number one network for women, now available in more than 88 million homes. Lifetime increased its investment in original programming to $400 million this year. Original hits include Strong Medicine and How Clean is Your House?
“This was the most difficult decision for me because my years at Lifetime have been the best work experience of my life,” Black said in a statement. “But this is the right decision for me personally. I've been commuting between Los Angeles and New York for more than five and a half years, spending much of my time at airports, on planes and in hotel rooms. I now look forward to moving back to my home and family in Los Angeles and taking some personal time. It’s been the most wonderful journey but there really is no place like home.”
Black was included in Fortune Magazine’s “50 Most Powerful Women in Business” report in 2001 and 2002 and was named one of Business Week’s “Top 25 Managers of the Year” in 2002. She has also received several awards from non-profit organizations such as the YWCA for her advocacy work and received numerous industry honors including being inducted into B&C’s Hall of Fame.
Prior to joining Lifetime, Black was president and general manager of WNBC in Los Angeles, the first woman to head a commercial station in LA. From 1988-1994, she served as senior vice president, marketing, television, at Disney and from 1986-1988 she was vice president, worldwide marketing, home video for the company.