Richman Leaving Lifetime Ad Sales For ABC

Lifetime Television has lost its top ad sales executive to ABC Television Network.

Debbie Richman has been named senior vice president of primetime sales for ABC, reporting to Geri Wang, president of the network's sales and marketing. Wang was named in February to succeed Mike Shaw in heading the broadcast network's ad sales.

Richman has been serving as executive vice president, ad sales, of Lifetime Networks, a position to which she was named in April 2008. In that role, she oversaw all ad sales for Lifetime Television, Lifetime Movie Network, Lifetime Real Women, Lifetime HD, Lifetime Movie Network HD and Lifetime On Demand. She also had oversight for

Lifetime Digital, encompassing,,,, and

Richman, who will retain her Lifetime duties through week's end, had been reporting to AETN executive vice president of ad sales Mel Berning, who will assume more hands-on responsibilities for the women's-programmer in the interim. An AETN spokesman said it was likely that Berning would tap an executive, whether a current member of the team or from outside its ranks, to lead the Lifetime ad sales effort. 

Lifetime Entertainment Services became part of A&E Television Networks last year.

"Debbie is a star in our business, and will be a real asset to our sales team. We're very happy she's joining us," said Wang in a statement. "She is known for her creative thinking, and the combination of her agency and sales experience will serve ABC well."

Prior to joining Lifetime, Richman had been managing drector, National Broadcast, at OMD since 2005. During her decade-long tenure with the company, Richman created the OMD Summit, and additionally, she was instrumental in leading the OMD National Programming Forum, which educated clients on how best to partner with content providers.Previously, Richman was director of National Television at Optimum Media, which folded into OMD in 2002.

The Walt Disney Co., Hearst Corp. and NBC have been partners in A&E since the network was created through the combination of ARTS and Entertainment Channels in 1984. Disney and Hearst own about 37.5% with NBC controlling about 25%. Lifetime is jointly owned by Disney, which controls ABC, and Hearst.

The new agreement will result in the consolidation of three of the nation's leading cable networks under a single management structure, while preserving the brand identities of each.