Lifetime Networks President of Entertainment Susanne Daniels to Resign Position After Tenure of Tremendous Growth and Success
NEW YORK, June 18 /PRNewswire/ — Susanne Daniels will resign her position as President, Entertainment, Lifetime Networks, it was announced today by Andrea Wong, President & CEO, Lifetime Networks.
Daniels, who joined Lifetime in August 2005, is responsible for all programming on Lifetime Television and Lifetime Movie Network, the two highest-rated women’s networks, and Lifetime Real Women. At a time of tremendous growth and momentum among all Lifetime properties, Daniels has agreed to stay in her position until she identifies a successor and will remain a part of the Lifetime family in a consulting role.
In making the announcement, Wong said, “Susanne is one of the most outstanding executives with whom I have ever worked. Her instincts and business acumen are unparalleled, bringing the same creative energy and innovation to her deal-making as she does to her development slate.” Wong continued, “While I totally respect and understand Susanne’s decision to spend more time with her children and family and evolve her role into a consulting position, I will miss our daily collaboration and will always treasure her friendship. We are fortunate that Susanne leaves us with great momentum and a top notch team. The fruits of her labor will be enjoyed by Lifetime and our viewers for many years to come.”
Daniels said, “With Andrea’s impressive, strategic leadership, Lifetime is destined for even greater success. It’s not easy giving up working on a daily basis with the dynamic and talented team with whom Andrea and I collaborate. But I look forward to contributing to these networks on the move in my new capacity as a very engaged and passionate consultant.”
Under Daniels’ watch, Lifetime’s viewership has grown, especially among younger women. This June, viewership is up among W18-24, W18-34, W18-49, P18-34 and P18-49.* Lifetime is far and away the highest-rated network for women and ranks fourth in primetime households for the month versus more than 70 ad-supported basic cable networks. In addition, Lifetime Movie Network – the #2 women’s channel behind only sibling Lifetime – is in the midst of its tenth straight month of double-digit household ratings gains in both primetime and total day. During Daniels’ tenure, Lifetime Movie Network’s primetime viewers have soared 26 percent.
Daniels has also positioned Lifetime as a creative leader, bringing top talent to the network in front of and behind the camera, including Mark Gordon, producer of the acclaimed “Army Wives,” the highest-rated series in Lifetime’s 24-year-history. Carson Kressley’s “How to Look Good Naked,” premiered in 2008 as Lifetime’s most successful unscripted series premiere ever and returns for a second season next month. Daniels has also returned original comedy to Lifetime’s primetime schedule with the upcoming “Rita Rocks,” made possible through a landmark deal she shepherded with Media Rights Capital. In November, the Peabody Award-winning and Emmy Award(R)-nominated “Project Runway” will join the network for its sixth season as the centerpiece of a groundbreaking partnership Daniels and Wong forged between Lifetime Networks and The Weinstein Company.
Daniels also has reinvigorated the Lifetime Original Movie franchise, establishing it as a destination for women seeking quality entertainment and for creative talent. Under Daniels’ watch, “Life is Not a Fairy Tale: The Fantasia Barrino Story” was the second highest-rated movie in the history of Lifetime, and “The Memory Keeper’s Daughter,” based on the best-selling novel by Kim Edwards and starring Dermot Mulroney, Emily Watson and Gretchen Mol, became the network’s most-watched original movie since 1995. In March, the Lifetime Movie Network miniseries “The Capture of the Green River Killer” premiered as the highest-rated program in that network’s ten-year history.
Upcoming movies include “The Tenth Circle,” starring Kelly Preston and Ron Eldard, and “Coco Chanel,” starring Shirley MacLaine. October’s “Living Proof” unites star Emmy(R) and Grammy(R)-winner Harry Connick, Jr., with acclaimed executive producers Neil Meron, Craig Zadan and Renee Zellweger.
Daniels has also built a robust development slate in all genres with projects with top talent in Hollywood such as Laura Ziskin, Paula Weinstein and Gale Ann Hurd, and new literary partnerships with best-selling authors such as John Updike, Candace Bushnell and Patricia Cornwell.
In 1994, at the age of 29, Daniels became one of the highest-ranking television executives in the business when she was named Head of Primetime Series for The WB Television Network, and given responsibility for every aspect of development and production for all primetime programs.
Daniels was named Head of The WB entertainment division in 1998. Her legacy was notable for the prestigious feature film writers/producers she attracted, which resulted in cornerstone programs like the critically acclaimed “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel” (Joss Whedon), as well as “Dawson’s Creek” (Kevin Williamson), “Felicity” (J.J. Abrams) and “Smallville” (Al Gough and Miles Millar). She also tapped a stellar group of proven comedy producers who created “Gilmore Girls” (Amy Sherman-Palladino), “Reba” (Allison Gibson) and “Off Centre” (Paul and Chris Weitz).
In 2007, Daniels’ first book, with co-writer Cynthia Littleton, Season Finale: The Unexpected Rise and Fall of The WB and UPN was published by Harper Collins. The book is an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at former broadcast networks UPN and The WB, and chronicles Daniels’ years at The WB and beyond.
Prior to joining The WB, Daniels spent two years at the Fox Broadcasting Company as Director of Comedy Development. While at Fox, she developed the hit comedies “Martin” (featuring Martin Lawrence) and “Living Single” with executive producer Yvette Lee Bowser, who brought her next comedy, “For Your Love,” to The WB.
Before that, Daniels spent two years at the ABC Television Network as Director of Variety, Reality and Specials. She was involved in the development of the reality series “American Detective” and “America’s Funniest People,” and was responsible for all of ABC’s specials – from the Academy Awards and the “Happy Days Reunion” to “Muhammad Ali’s 50th Birthday Special.” She was also instrumental in the development of the popular “American Comedy Awards” with legendary producer George Schlatter.
A graduate of Harvard University, Daniels began her career as an assistant to Lorne Michaels on the award-winning, late-night staple “Saturday Night Live.” After only one year, she was promoted to Manager of Development for Michaels’ Broadway Video Entertainment, where, among other projects, she helped develop “Kids in the Hall.”
Daniels currently serves on the board of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, which honored her in 1999 for her leadership role in making teen pregnancy prevention a top priority in the media industry. In 1999, Daniels won a Special Achievement Shine Award from the Media Project, which honors those who have responsibly portrayed sex in the media. In 2001, Daniels was given the GENII Award, the highest honor from The American Women in Radio & Television. She has also been honored by The Help Group, in recognition of her outstanding commitment to philanthropic causes and by Girls, Inc. She is a frequent speaker, guest panelist and moderator for such prominent groups as Women in Film, The Directors Guild, The Television Academy and The Hollywood Radio & Television Society.
Daniels and her husband, Greg Daniels, co-creator and executive producer of the Fox series “King of the Hill,” and executive producer of the NBC series “The Office,” reside in Los Angeles with their three children.
Lifetime is the leader in women’s television and one of the top-rated basic cable television networks. A diverse, multi-media company, Lifetime is committed to offering the highest quality entertainment and information programming, and advocating a wide range of issues affecting women and their families. Lifetime Television, Lifetime Movie Network, Lifetime Real Women, Lifetime Home Entertainment and Lifetime Digital (http://www.mylifetime.com/) are part of Lifetime Entertainment Services, a 50/50 joint venture of Hearst Corporation and The Walt Disney Company.
*Source: The Nielsen Company (05/23/05-06/13/05 vs. 05/26/08-06/16/08),
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