Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Lifetime’s head of development, EVP entertainment JoAnn Alfano, is leaving the female-centered cable network effective immediately. For the time being, Lifetime president and general manger Nancy Dubuc will oversee the network’s development, with SVP series programming Nina Lederman and SVP original movies Tanya Lopez reporting to her.

Alfano, former head of Lorne Michaels’ production company Broadway Video and head of comedy at NBC, joined Lifetime in the fall of 2008, succeeding entertainment president Susanne Daniels. Alfano said that she made the decision to leave right after the recent merger of Lifetime and A&E Networks, which put Lifetime under the purview of History president and GM Dubuc. “I wanted to stay on through the first year to help shepherd some great projects through the development process,” she said. “Now that those projects are into production and under way, I feel it is the right time for me to move on.  While I am saddened to leave my incredibly talented team, I am extremely proud of the work we created together. I will continue rooting for them and everyone at Lifetime for years to come.”

Alfano recently oversaw development of Lifetime’s first crop of pilots under Dubuc, which resulted in series orders to Against the Wall and Exit 19, for a launch later this year. (Additionally, one of the five pilots ordered, Meet Jane, remains in contention, and another, the untitled Michael Sardo drama starring Carrie-Anne Moss, is yet to be delivered.) “JoAnn Alfano has been a great asset to Lifetime over the last few years,” Dubuc said. “I am grateful she stayed on to help us during the first year. I along with the entire Lifetime team will miss her insights and leadership.”

It is unclear if Alfano plans to stay in the executive ranks or go back to producing (she won a best series Emmy for 30 Rock). She could be a candidate for the soon-to-be-vacant entertainment president post at the CW. Coincidentally, outgoing Dawn Ostroff held the same job at Lifetime as Alfano when CBS’ Leslie Moonves tapped her to run UPN and then the CW.

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