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Former E! programming president Lisa Berger is heading to ABC. The network confirms that the unscripted veteran will take over the spot recently vacated by John Saade as ABC Entertainment’s executive vp alternative series and late-night programming.
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Saade had been with the network since 2004. His former catalog of primetime hits — Dancing With the Stars, Shark Tank, Wipeout and The Bachelor, among them — and growing late-night talker Jimmy Kimmel Live! will now be under Berger’s purview.
Saade’s ouster was the latest of three big executive departures in the alternative space. Saade followed Fox’s Mike Darnell (now at Warner Bros.) and CBS’ Jennifer Bresnan (replaced by her No. 2, Chris Castallo). That leaves NBC’s Paul Telegdy as the last man standing among the Big Four alternative/reality chiefs.
Reality programming has been challenging for the broadcast networks of late. With the notable exception of The Voice, the genre’s launches of the last several years have been pricey flops — like ABC’s American Idol look-a-like Duets, Fox dating shows Take Me Out and The Choice and NBC’s recent 10-night experiment with Million Second Quiz. All the while flagship competitions have seen ratings drop double digits annually.
STORY: ABC Reality Chief John Saade to Depart
On ABC alone, Dancing With the Stars‘ ratings dips prompted the network to combine the performance and results shows into one two-hour broadcast, and waning success for Bachelor spinoff Bachelor Pad had them skip a summer 2013 season.
Berger left her position at E! in January after nine years. While there, the exec was deeply involved with hits Keeping Up With the Kardashians and its spinoffs, The Girl Next Door and late-night effort Chelsea Lately.
Prior to E!, Berger spent four years as executive vp creative affairs for Fox TV Studios and 12 years at MTV Networks, where she developed series including Singled Out, The Jenny McCarthy Show and Road Rules.
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