Joann Alfano is returning to NBC as EVP at NBCUniversal International Television Production. Based in Los Angeles, she will oversee the company’s global scripted business, which includes Camp (NBC), Motive (ABC), Family Tree (HBO), Newlyweds (Bravo) as well as the upcoming Dracula (NBC) and Season 4 of Downton Abbey (PBS). She will report to division president Michael Edelstein. Alfano succeeds EVP Deborah Oppenheimer who recently joined one NBCU’s labels, Downton Abbey producer Carnival Films, though Alfano’s role will be broader. From today’s announcement:
Alfano will supervise the development and production of scripted programming across the NBCUniversal International Television portfolio of companies including Carnival, Lucky Giant and Matchbox Pictures. She will also manage the division’s strategic partnerships with both Working Title Television and Lark Productions.
In addition, she will identify and develop new projects with the goal of bringing writers and producers from the US to NBCU International production entities. She will also be in charge of the imminent expansion of the division’s Los Angeles office.
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EXCLUSIVE: Brillstein Entertainment Partners has named former Regency TV president Robin Schwartz as president of its television division. She will replace JoAnn Alfano, who is departing after serving as TV head for the past two years. Alfano will continue to executive produce the new Brillstein/Plan B drama series for ABC, Resurrection.
Brillstein’s TV unit has signed a new two-year overall deal with ABC Studios where it has been based for the past decade. The new pact has a first-look component. “We are grateful for the continued support of our friends at ABC Studios and excited about our new first-look arrangement,” Brillstein Entertainment CEO Jon Liebman said. “Robin Schwartz is a terrific executive and her broad experience and talent relationships make her an excellent choice to lead and build our television group. We are happy for JoAnn, who is a great friend, and we are looking forward to working with her in the next chapter of her career.”
Schwartz has a background as a network and studio executive and a writer. She started off as VP Primetime Series and Children’s Programming for NBC and also served as VP Programming at ABC Family, where she played a key role in the rebranding of the cable channel following its purchase by Disney. Schwartz was named president of Regency TV in 2004 and ran the studio until it closed in 2007. She went on to become the first president of OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, which she departed in one of a series of executive shake-ups during the network’s uncertain early years. At OWN, she established the structure for the start-up cable network. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Following her memorable run on Dancing With the Stars last spring, Kirstie Alley is returning to ABC as the star of a new comedy project. I’ve learned that ABC is finalizing the deals for a pilot order to The Manzanis, a multi-camera family comedy written by sitcom veterans Marco Pennette and Dave Flebotte, with Alley attached to star. ABC Studios and studio-based Brillstein Entertainment are producing. The sitcom is described as a new take on Roseanne, and stars Alley as a very opinionated wife/mother who, along with her family, the Manzanis, moves to repressed country-club town. Pennette and Flebotte are executive producing with Brillstein’s new TV president JoAnn Alfano. Also expected to executive produce are Aaron Kaplan (Good Christian Belles) and Alley’s manager Jason Weinberg. Read More »
Brillstein Entertainment Partners has tapped former Lifetime head of development JoAnn Alfano as new President of Television. She will succeed Peter Traugott, who is leaving after 15 years at Brillstein to launch his own production company, which will be based at NBC. Alfano stars next week. “JoAnn has impressed all of us with her experience and drive, and we are very fortunate that she will be leading the television company,” Brillstein CEO Jon Liebman said.
Alfano’s hire is part of a reorganization of Brillstein’s TV unit, which just renewed its overall deal with ABC Studios for 2 more years. Alfano’s resume makes her a perfect candidate to run a TV production company like Brillstien, whose main focus has been on comedy series, most recently According to Jim, which airs in syndication, and Samantha Who?. Alfano served as president of another top production company specializing in comedy, Lorne Michaels’ NBC-based Broadway Video. There, she developed 30 Rock and served as an executive producer for the first 2 seasons, sharing the best comedy series Emmy with the rest of the producing team in 2007. Before that, she served as SVP comedy development and SVP drama development at NBC, heading both departments and developing such series as dramedy Ed and comedy Scrubs, after a stint as VP primetime series at NBC Studios. Alfano most recently spent 3 years at Lifetime, where she served as EVP entertainment and launched comedic drama Drop Dead Diva. … Read More »
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 … Read More »
From Ray Richmond, who is contributing to Deadline Hollywood’s TCA Coverage:
Lifetime plans to double its on-air drama series output in 2011 from two to four, the network’s new president and GM Nancy Dubuc said this morning during the network’s portion of TCA. That includes the pickup to series of two of the network’s five pilots ordered last year (four of them have already been shot). Lifetime brass will make the decision on which two will go to series by February, the network’s EVP JoAnn Alfano said. The two new series will premiere by fourth quarter 2011, along with the returns of vets Army Wives and Drop Dead Diva. The network also is launching a dozen new unscripted series this year, with the rollout beginning in February, along with 15 original films. “We’re committed to expanding our original programming in a major way,” Alfano said. “This is only the beginning.” Here is a list of Lifetime’s upcoming reality series, Seriously Funny Kids, One Born Every Minute, Quad Squad and Glamour Belles, whose premiere dates were announced today: Read More »
Gena McCarthy has joined Lifetime as SVP reality & alternative programming. McCarthy will start on July 6, overseeing the development and production of unscripted series for the female-centered cable network and reporting to JoAnn Alfano, EVP entertainment. The top reality post at Lifetime has been vacant since the departure of Jessica Samet late last year. Lifetime has ventured into unscripted programming before, most notably with the acquisition of Project Runway under former CEO Andrea Wong. While scripted series will continue to be the focus, Lifetime’s reality portfolio is expected to grow under new president/GM Nancy Dubuc, who also runs the docu-driven History Channel. Read More »