Veteran Lifetime Television programmer Allison Wallach is leaving the network for British Broadcasting Corp. Worldwide's new New York production arm.
Wallach, currently vice president of programming for the women's network, has been at Lifetime since 1997 when she joined as a manager of series. She will join the BBC production arm at the end of the year as senior VP, BBC Worldwide Productions.
Wallach -- upped to VP at Lifetime in 2001 and responsible for development and production of the network's series out of New York -- will take on a senior role in the new New York-based production office the BBC is opening to produce original series for cable networks. She reports to executive VP of content and production Paul Telegdy.
The New York office, announced as part of an annual report in June, will build upon the company's Los Angeles-based production team, which makes broadcast shows including reality series Dancing with the Starson ABC and Grease: You're the One That I Wanton NBC, as well as CBS' upcoming scripted musical drama, Viva Laughlin.
"We are thrilled that our flourishing production business, which has been so successful with Dancing with the Stars, is expanding to New York with a focus on the cable industry," said Garth Ancier, president of BBC Worldwide Americas' U.S. operations. "We couldn't be more pleased that Allison is joining us."
Ancier told B&C in June that the office will aim to produce about three or four high-quality, unscripted cable series. It will house about four creative executives, and production will take place on both coasts, he added.
The BBC's own U.S.-based cable network, BBC America, regularly earns critical acclaim with its own original dramas, but it is only in about 56 million homes and its viewing audience is tiny -- an average 42,000 total viewers during the second quarter, according to Nielsen Media Research. By producing shows for other cable networks, the BBC could presumably get its programming in front of more viewers.
Wallach, a Northwestern University graduate, started her career as a trainee at William Morris. She went on to stints as an assistant to the executive producer and writers at Murphy Brown and a production coordinator for The Show at Warner Bros. Television/FBC.
At Lifetime, she has had a hand in developing most of the network's programming over the past decade, including earlier scripted series Strong Medicine and Any Day Now and this summer's Army Wives. Before Lifetime, she was director of development for Warner Bros. production company Black Rose Productions, where she developed and scouted talent for comedy series.
"Allison brings with her a decade of experience from one of the country's top cable players," Telegdy said in a statement. "We are delighted to have this caliber of person on board as we roll up our sleeves and take our production business to the next level."
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