Brooks exits Lifetime gig

TV historian will focus on writing

Lifetime head of research Tim Brooks said Tuesday that he is retiring at year's end to focus full time on writing about television and other subjects.

Brooks, a well-respected 30-year industry veteran, has been with Lifetime Entertainment Services since 2000, joining as senior vp research and then getting promoted to executive vp research in 2003.

The TV historian — who also has held senior positions at NBC, USA Networks and NW Ayer — co-wrote the widely used industry reference book "The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present," which won an American Book Award. The ninth edition of the book will be out in the fall.

Brooks praised his Lifetime colleagues but noted that the time was right to move on.

"Whether it's 'Gunsmoke,' 'Dallas' or 'Everybody Loves Raymond,' even the longest-running television series eventually comes to an end, as does this phase of my work in television," Brooks said. "I have been fortunate enough to work with exceptional colleagues whose intelligence, warmth and professionalism have made every day a delight."

Andrea Wong, Lifetime Networks' new president and CEO, praised Brooks and wished him success in his future endeavor.

"I've always been impressed by Tim's sage perspectives on the state of television," she said. "Now that I've had the pleasure of working with him, I see firsthand all he has contributed to the success of the company these past seven years. Not only will we miss him, but so will the entire industry, which has relied on Tim as an invaluable resource of information and insights."

A search is under way for his replacement.

In his announcement, Brooks made a few observations about television, noting that "the last 20 years have seen a fundamental shift in television from the one-size-fits-all of TV's first four decades to branded, personal 'for me' channels" and that the most influential program during that time frame has been CBS' "Survivor," which "turned TV's historic stars-talking-to-you model on its head and made 'us' the stars" and also was the show that really kicked off the reality show craze.

Brooks earned a 2007 Grammy for best historical album for the CD adaptation of his book "Lost Sounds," which profiled the role of blacks in the earliest years of the recording industry, and is a recipient of the Cable Advertising Bureau's Jack Hill Award for Excellence and Integrity in Media Research.

Before Lifetime, Brooks was at USA Networks for nine years, working his way up the ranks to senior vp research. Before that, he was senior vp/media research director at NW Ayer from 1989-90 and held research positions at NBC from 1977-88.