VH1 Programming Exec Susan Levison Exiting (Exclusive)

The former Fox executive joined the Viacom-owned cable network in 2013, replacing Jeff Olde.

Another Viacom cable network is losing its topper. 

After two-plus years on the job, Susan Levison is exiting her role as executive vp original programming and production, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. Jill Holmes and Nina Diaz will take over her position and report to VH1 GM Chris McCarthy.

Levison was tapped to lead the creative development team at VH1 in August 2013, overseeing all original programming on the Viacom-owned cable network. She replaced Jeff Olde, who exited for a role at E! 

Levison is a former member of THR's prestigious Next Generation list and came from Fishbowl Worldwide Media where she set up both scripted and unscripted series to multiple cable networks. Before that, she served as senior vp comedy development at Fox. 

During her tenure at VH1, Levison — who will continue to oversee a few projects in development over the coming months — developed scripted drama Hindsight and was forced to cancel the critical favorite months after announcing its second season renewal in a bid to meet company-wide financial goals, sources say. 

Levison's senior development execs will help fill the vacated position, with East Coast-based Diaz and West Coast-based Holmes. 

Holmes is a VH1 veteran who helped develop programming including Flavor of Love, Rock of Love and Behind the Music. She'll lead the West Coast team and oversee fare including Dating Naked, T.I. and Tiny as well as the cabler's longest-running franchise, Basketball Wives

Diaz, meanwhile, worked on My Super Sweet 16, Cribs and The Osbournes when she started her tenure with Viacom-owned MTV. She'll oversee East Coast operations and franchises including Mob Wives as well as Love and Hip Hop.

For Viacom, meanwhile, Levison becomes the latest creative to exit the company, which has undergone a series of layoffs and restructuring under Doug Herzog following longtime exec Van Toffler's departure. TV Land president Larry Jones exited in February and Susanne Daniels departed in July.

McCarthy took over as VH1 GM in July following the departure of longtime president Tom Calderone. McCarthy held the same position at sibling networks MTV2 and Logo.

Here's McCarthy's memo to staff:

Hi Everyone,
 
I want to share some important news with you today. Susan Levison will be stepping down from her position as EVP Original Programming & Production. I’m happy to say that while we will miss her on a day-to-day basis, Susan will continue to oversee a number of key projects in development over the next few months.
 
In her time here at VH1, Susan has expanded our boundaries of creativity. From naked daters to time travelers – Susan pushed the network to new levels of creativity on both the reality and scripted fronts.  She is an unabashed risk taker and a passionate story teller. We are grateful for her energy and dedication.  
 
Thankfully, Susan leaves us in great shape on two very important fronts:  
 
We've got real ratings momentum. We are up 6% for fourth quarter with prime time ratings and up 33% in October;
 
She has put a tremendous development team in place.  As we continue to evolve the brand to capitalize on our pop culture DNA, Susan has installed a deep bench of creative executives led by Nina Diaz on the East Coast and Jill Holmes on the West Coast.  
 
Moving forward, Jill and Nina will both step up and report directly to me. Jill Holmes, a VH1 veteran, has been behind some of the brands most beloved franchises including "Flavor of Love," "Rock of Love" and "Behind The Music." Jill will continue to lead the West Coast team which oversees the recently renewed "Dating Naked," the first of family of VH1 "T.I. and Tiny" and our longest running franchise "Basketball Wives," which recently finished its fifth season of "LA" making VH1 the #2 network among women on Sunday nights.
 
Nina Diaz has been behind some of the most iconic pop culture shows in history, including "My Super Sweet 16", "Cribs" and "The Osbournes" when she was first with the company at MTV. She left to become an independent producer creating a string of hits for multiple networks, including VH1’s very own “Mob Wives.”  Since recently rejoining the Viacom family, Nina is the lead for the East Coast team and has overseen the expansion of our biggest franchise "Love and Hip Hop," which continues to dominate and make VH1 the #1 cable network on Monday nights.
 
We have many exciting projects in the pipeline to continue our positive momentum and a number of new shows we are fast tracking for January. The future is bright for VH1 as we continue to drive and define the Pop Culture conversation. 
 
I want to thank all of you for your hard work and creativity. Please join me in wishing Susan the very best and thank her for her many contributions to VH1.
 
- Chris
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