Lifetime Taps Ex-NBC Exec

JoAnn Alfano, a former NBC programming executive and a creative force behind the network's breakout comedy hit 30 Rock, will take over the programming reins at Lifetime Networks.

Alfano replaces Susanne Daniels as Lifetime executive vice president of entertainment. Daniels, who resigned this past June, will remain as a consultant to Lifetime Networks. Alfano will oversee the female targeted network's programming and scheduling as well as that of Lifetime Movie Network and Lifetime Real Women. She will be based in the company's Los Angeles office and report to Lifetime Networks CEO Andrea Wong.

As president of Broadway Video Television, Alfano produced NBC's 30 Rock as well as the short-lived but critically acclaimed ABC series Sons and Daughters.

Prior to that, Alfano — as vice president of primetime series for NBC Studios — developed and oversaw production on several series, including Will & Grace, Homicide: Life on the Street, as well as Providence, Profiler, Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Working, In the House and The Pretender.

“As an accomplished and seasoned executive, JoAnn understands television from both the network and production perspective,” said Wong in a statement. “JoAnn has the ideal combination of creative instincts and leadership skills to develop our next generation of series and movies.”

Alfano, who most recently headed up startup TV-production company Tray Entertainment, told Multichannel News that she began talking to Wong about the position in June.

While Alfano said it's too early to discuss any changes or plans for the network, she said she feels fortunate to come into the position riding the coattails of the successful series Army Wives and as the Bravo hit series Project Runway nears its November debut on Lifetime.

She's not concerned about making the transition from broadcast to cable, she added, noting that the two entities are more similar than ever in terms of programming and scheduling.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.