MTV Names Lifetime Vet Susanne Daniels President of Programming; David Janollari Out
MTV has tapped Lifetime and WB Network veteran Susanne Daniels as its president of programming, effective immediately. She replaces departing programming chief David Janollari.
In the new role, Daniels will oversee all development and programming for the network, including scripted and reality series, news and documentaries, production and talent. Based in Los Angeles, she will report to both Van Toffler, president of MTV Music & Logo Group, and MTV president Stephen Friedman.
“Susanne’s delivered more breakthrough pop culture hits in one decade than most producers do in their entire lifetimes,” said Toffler, referring to such series in Daniels' portfolio as Gilmore Girls, Dawson’s Creek and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. “Very few people have the talent and instincts to consistently develop shows that connect with young audiences, but Susanne has thankfully kept in perfect touch with her juvenile side, and we’re extremely lucky she will now be joining our restless, creative family here at MTV.”
The longtime executive, who most recently served as a consultant to Oprah Winfrey's OWN network, is joining MTV at a pivotal point in its history. The network, which has suffered significant ratings losses of late, announced recently that the current season of its flagship reality show, Jersey Shore, would be its last. On Oct. 10, Wall Street analyst Todd Juenger of Bernstein Research published a lengthy report in which he suggests that sister Viacom network Nickelodeon's ratings have "arguably bottomed out," while MTV's "will be down double digits across the next four quarters." The latter is looking to rebuild with younger franchises, including scripted efforts Awkward and Teen Wolf.
For Janollari's part, his exit comes after three years with the youth-skewing network. Noted Friedman in a statement: "David played an important role in advancing MTV’s leadership position the last few years -- particularly in fortifying our scripted programming strategy with such hits as Teen Wolf and Awkward and the critically acclaimed I Just Want My Pants Back. We will always be grateful for his contributions and wish him the best.”
Daniels' appointment follows a series of high-profile gigs, including stints as president of entertainment at The WB (Felicity, Smallville) and Lifetime (Army Wives, Drop Dead Diva). Earlier in her career, she served as director of comedy at Fox and director of variety, reality and specials at ABC. Daniels began her career as an assistant to Lorne Michaels at Saturday Night Live.