WB’s Daniels Gets Lifetime Gig

Former The WB Television entertainment head Susanne Daniels will turn her sights to cable as the new Lifetime Entertainment Services president of entertainment.

Daniels, who will start Sept. 12, will be responsible for all programming on Lifetime and its sister services Lifetime Movie Network and Lifetime Real Women. She effectively replaces Rick Haskins, who left the post last month after failing to replace departing CEO Carole Black. Daniels reports to Lifetime Entertainment Services president and CEO Betty Cohen.

At The WB, Daniels was involved in developing a number of signature shows, including Gilmore Girls, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dawson’s Creek. She said she doesn’t plan any wholesale changes to the distaff network, which has experience a ratings surge in 2005 on the back of popular original movies. The network posted a 13% household ratings gain last month, generating a 1.7 rating.

“The network’s strength is clearly the original movies -- the brand has been built over the years on what seems like and intense audience loyalty to the original movies in particular,” she said in an interview Thursday. “There’s an enormous opportunity in terms of targeting somewhat younger women with original series programming.”

Cohen praised her in a statement: “During her nearly 20 years in the television community, Susanne has demonstrated extraordinary creative antenna for the pulse of pop culture, especially programming appealing to younger women. Her remarkable success at The WB, where she was the driving vision behind shows that have become pillars of the industry, demonstrates the insight, industry relationships and hit-driven track record that we’ve been looking for in our new head of programming.”

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.