Haskins Leaves Lifetime

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Rick Haskins is closing the Lifetime chapter of his life.

With the women’s-targeted company since 1999, he’ll exit his post as executive vice president and general manager of Lifetime Entertainment Services come the end of July.

A marketing executive by trade, Haskins has been heading Lifetime’s programming for the past 15 months and has helped lead a rebound that has seen the network record eight straight months of ratings advances.

Tight with former Lifetime leader Carole Black, Haskins, sources said, had made a run for the top spot, which eventually went to Betty Cohen. The Cartoon Network founder joined Lifetime in April.

Network sources said Cohen offered Haskins the entertainment president position formerly held by Barbara Fisher, but they could not come to terms. Fisher, the former Universal Studios executive, left Lifetime in May 2004, with Haskins stepping into the programming void.

With Haskins on board, Lifetime has successfully charted a course driven by a bounty of original movies on Monday nights, which have also fared well as encores on other evenings.

The network has also added some reality shows, including the late-night How Clean Is Your House? It’s also taking a new turn this July and August with limited series Beach Girls, starring Rob Lowe and Julia Ormond.

But original series — Lifetime’s staples when it topped Nielsen’s ratings charts during 2001 and 2002 — are down to Strong Medicine, in its sixth season, and 1-800-Missing.

Sources said Lifetime has more than two dozen scripted and unscripted shows in various stages of development. Whether any will emerge from the pipeline immediately remains to be seen, as Lifetime conducts a search for Haskins’ replacement and Cohen moves to put her own imprimatur on the service.