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