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Lifetime’s portfolio — which includes scripted series and 30 made-for-TV movies a year — now has 200 hours of unscripted programming. Project Runway is heading into its 10th season (the ninth averaged 2.9 million viewers) and America’s Most Wanted has improved Lifetime’s Friday night time slot by 56 percent.
It’s all good news for Sharenow, a married father of two daughters, ages 19 and 12, who admits he is a bit of a “dance dad.” But he’s not the overweening type of parent seen at the Pittsburgh dance studio featured on Lifetime’s Dance Moms.
“We live in a very soft age. The approach that some of these parents take with their children is shockingly different, and audiences are drawn to that,” says Sharenow, 45. Indeed, Dance Moms has become a breakout hit for Lifetime, averaging 2.4 million viewers during its recent second season, marking a gain of 85 percent from season one and spawning Dance Moms: Miami and Ice Moms.
Of course, Dance Moms does have its critics: A recent episode that featured young pupils learning a burlesque routine caused a media conflagration and Lifetime yanked it. “We take concerns about the show very seriously,” says Sharenow.