Fisher in, Black stays

Lifetime seemed to neatly wrap up a two-for-one executive deal last week. Cable's top-rated network tapped veteran programmer Barbara Fisher to be its next head of programming. Her appointment signals that Carole Black will stay as president and CEO of the women's net.

Black's contract expired last winter, but industry sources say she is ready to re-up with Lifetime. Earlier this year, talk was that Black might take the top spot at ABC Family and, more recently, that ABC might be courting her to replace recently ousted ABC Television President Steve Bornstein.

Fisher, former president of Universal Studios Network Programming, replaces Dawn Tarnofsky-Ostroff, now UPN's head of entertainment. As executive vice president of entertainment, Fisher will oversee programming, scheduling and production. It's her first shot at network programming. At Universal, she created such hits as Just Shoot Me
for NBC and The Steve Harvey Show
for The WB.
"It will be nice to be the buyer," she said, "instead of the seller for a change."

With Lifetime regularly topping cable Nielsen ratings, Fisher isn't under pressure to make radical change. "I do have to be vigilant to continue [the success] and improve on it, though."