Hunt for a new CW Chief

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Names in the mix to replace Ostroff include Alfano and Wong.

With CW entertainment chief Dawn Ostroff set to step down later this spring, the network formed in 2006 from the ashes of CBS Corp.-owned UPN and Warner Bros.’ WB Network is coming to a crossroads. Although up 3 percent in the 18-49 demographic and 8 percent in total viewers this season, the CW still draws only a fraction of its broadcast network rivals’ numbers, and its most-watched show, America’s Next Top Model, averages 3.4 million viewers, about half as much as MTV’s Jersey Shore. Executives are casting about for a new leader, and one name that has generated traction is JoAnn Alfano, who stepped down March 4 as head of development at Lifetime. Multiple sources say Alfano has been approached by CBS and WB but has some reservations about the gig. (Coincidentally, Ostroff was head of development at Lifetime before heading to UPN.) Andrea Wong, another erstwhile Lifetime exec and Alfano’s former boss, is frequently mentioned as a candidate as well. But one source muses that Wong might be looking for a “bigger” perch. (Neither Alfano nor Wong responded to requests for comment.) Warner Horizon’s Craig Erwich, ABC Family’s Kate Juergens and former Lifetime chief Susanne Daniels have similarly seen their names tossed into the mix. Former NBC boss Jeff Gaspin also has been floated, but sources say he is not a candidate. To be sure, the CW’s bifurcated management structure — Ostroff reports to CBS’ Leslie Moonves and Nina Tassler and WB’s Barry Meyer and Bruce Rosenblum — is viewed by many as a turnoff. And though the network does provide a platform for Warner Bros. content, enabling the studio to reap backend cash, its struggle to turn a profit has led to much debate within the industry about the network’s long-term survival.