Programming is Lifetime Television’s biggest problem, and it’s what the women’s network's owners intend to shore up when they hire a new CEO this spring. That’s the assessment of industry executives inside Lifetime and out in the wake of Carole Black’s decision to leave the network March 30.
Though Lifetime was run by men for a decade before Black, network owners Disney and Hearst are believed to want a woman in charge of the “Television for Women” channel.
Black leaves after six years, having succeeded in making Lifetime the highest-rated cable network, only to watch its ratings plunge as audiences drifted away from its original dramas and women-in-peril movies.
Though her departure is still five months away, plenty of names are already cropping up as possible replacements. Two candidates are in the Disney family, at syndicator Buena Vista Television. President Janice Marinelli’s background is primarily in sales.
Her boss Laurie Younger has a more rounded resume, including CFO of ABC and business affairs at 20th Century Fox. Another likely candidate is former Lifetime executive Bonnie Hammer, president of NBC’s USA Network and Sci Fi channel.
A candidate from outside the Lifetime orbit: Cara Stein, co-COO of William Morris Agency’s New York office, who has already been chatting with the network about its top programming job. Another option: Nina Tassler, president of CBS Entertainment.