Former The WB entertainment head Susanne Daniels will looks to draw younger female viewers to Lifetime in her new role as Lifetime Entertainment Services’ president of entertainment.
Daniels, who will start Sept. 12, will be responsible for all programming for the distaff network and sister services Lifetime Movie Network and Lifetime Real Women. She effectively replaces Rick Haskins, who left last month, and will be based in Los Angeles, reporting to Lifetime Entertainment Services CEO Betty Cohen.
Cohen, in a statement, said Daniels “has demonstrated extraordinary creative antenna for the pulse of pop culture, especially programming appealing to younger women.”
During Daniels’s tenure, The WB developed signature series Gilmore Girls, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dawson’s Creek, which drew many young, female viewers. She hopes to replicate that feat with Lifetime, which tends to draw older female viewers.
But Daniels she isn’t going to tinker much with the network’s successful formula of original movies and strong, dramatic scripted series.
“The network’s strength is clearly the original movies — the brand has been built over the years on what seems like an intense audience loyalty to the original movies in particular,” Daniels said. “There’s an enormous opportunity in terms of targeting somewhat younger women with original-series programming.”
She inherits a network that has experienced a ratings surge in 2005, due mostly to popular original movies. Lifetime gained 13% in the household ratings last month, generating a 1.7.
Daniels — who, prior to The WB, worked at Fox, where she developed such sitcoms as Martin and Living Single — doesn’t foresee any major problems in shifting from the broad-based broadcast arena to the more-targeted cable business. The WB itself targeted a young, female viewer, she added, which is what Lifetime is also trying to accomplish.
“We were fairly targeted at the WB — we were going after females 12-to-34, so I’m used to that and I think it makes life simpler when the choice and brand is very clear,” she said.