Lauren Corrao leaving Comedy Central

President of original programming to focus on producing

Lauren Corrao is stepping down as president of original programming and development at Comedy Central to return to producing.

Corrao, who will depart when her current contract expires at the end of the year, spent seven years at the cable network.

She joined Comedy Central in 2002 as a senior vp, original programming and head of development and oversaw the development and launches of such series as "Chappelle's Show," "RENO 911!," "Drawn Together," "Mind of Mencia," "The Sarah Silverman Program" and "Important Things with Demetri Martin."

Doug Herzog, president of MTV Networks Entertainment Group, who announced Corrao's departure in an internal memo Monday, said he and Comedy Central president Michele Ganeles will be looking for a replacement in the next few months.

"Comedy Central has been my passion and my family for the past seven years and I'm very proud of the legacy I'll leave behind," Corrao said. "But I feel that this is exactly the right time in this ever changing world of television to personally create, produce and own content."

In her career, Lauren has switched back and forth between stints as a producer and executive gigs at MTV, Fox and Comedy Central.

On the producing side, she exec produced the Peter Tolan/Denis Leary comedy "The Job" on ABC.

As an executive, she served as vp comedy development and vp alternative and late night development at Fox where she was involved in "That 70s Show," "MAD TV" and King of the Hill."

She began her TV career at MTV where she rose to vp and executive producer and oversaw the development of shows like "Remote Control," "The State" and "The Ben Stiller Show," under Herzog.

"I remember the day she walked into my office to say she had figured out the way to do an MTV soap opera with no actors and no writers -- she said, "It's called 'The Real World,' " Herzog wrote in the memo Monday.

The fact of the matter is that we owe a lot more to Lauren – her creative savvy, her eye for talent, her unrivalled work ethic and her unmatched spirit – than she owes to us. We'll miss her dearly, but the phenomenal programming team she helped put in place will keep Comedy Central rolling as the funniest multiplatform entertainment destination around.