Lifetime’s top programming executive resigns

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A top executive at Lifetime Television has resigned at a time when the cable channel is starting to make a shift in its programming strategy.

JoAnn Alfano, Lifetime’s executive vice president of entertainment, said Friday that she was leaving. Her exit comes a little less than a year after Nancy Dubuc was named head of Lifetime. Dubuc, who also runs the History channel, was brought in to oversee Lifetime after the ownership of the network was restructured. Once owned by Walt Disney Co. and Hearst Corp., Lifetime is now owned by those companies as well as NBC Universal.

Since adding Lifetime to her portfolio, Dubuc has pushed for more reality fare. The network has run episodes of the History channel’s popular reality show ‘Pawn Stars’ and is developing new reality shows featuring Roseanne Barr and Beth Holloway, mother of Natalie Holloway who vanished several years ago.

Lifetime has also been edging back into the ‘women in jeopardy’ movies that were its hallmark for years until the network tried to move out of the genre for more critically appealing shows. In the last two months it has run a ripped-from-the-tabloids movie based on an infamous murder in Boston known as the Craigslist killing and another about Amanda Knox, the American college student who was found guilty in Italy of the murder of Meredith Kercher, another student.


In a statement, Alfano said she decided a few months ago to leave Lifetime after seeing some of her projects make it through the network’s development process.

Before she joined Lifetime, Alfano spent several years at NBC in program development and later was head of television at Broadway Video, an entertainment firm founded by ‘Saturday Night Live’ creator Lorne Michaels.

-- Joe Flint