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The sweeping changes continue A+E Networks.
Exec vp and GM David McKillop is out, and Lifetime general manager Rob Sharenow is taking on additional oversight of the sibling cable network. The news comes as A&E has suffered considerable viewer erosion, and has failed to launch a bona fide hit since Duck Dynasty exploded into the zeitgeist years ago. McKillop, who singled out “declining ratings” as the top TV trend he wished would end as part of a THR survey of network executives in January, will transition to producing.
In his new role as exec vp and GM at both networks, Sharenow will now oversee all content creation, brand development and marketing for both network groups. He will report to newly installed A&E and Lifetime president Paul Buccieri for all A&E related business, and to A+E Networks CEO Nancy Dubuc for all matters Lifetime. Sharenow is intimately familiar with the A&E brand, having spent time as the senior vp of nonfiction and alternative programming prior to moving to Lifetime.
“After 10 years of tremendous growth — we have a renewed focus on re-establishing A&E as a top tier brand,” Buccieri said in a statement Monday. “Rob is the ideal candidate for the job. Before his tenure at Lifetime, Rob was instrumental in the success of A&E for nearly a decade. He was a key member of A&E’s leadership team that developed some of the network’s biggest hit franchises. Under Rob’s leadership at Lifetime, the brand is undergoing a revitalization with a record number of Emmy nominations and returning series. Rob is a great leader with the right balance of creative acumen and strategic vision, essential for today’s changing landscape.”
The change-up comes as the cable network has struggled, like many cable networks, to launch a new unscripted hit. On the scripted side, its most recent drama launch — Chloe Sevigny starrer Those Who Kill — fizzled, moving to cable sibling LMN after just two episodes. Currently, A&E has two entries, both from Carlton Cuse: veteran Bates Motel and remake The Returned, due in March. In addition to big programming moves, McKillop oversaw a rebrand of the network, which included a ‘Be Original’ tagline, during his tenure.
For his part, Sharenow — who has a 15-year relationship with Dubuc, and was integral to the development of Duck while still at A&E — joined Lifetime in 2011 as exec vp programming. Under his purview, the femme-skewing network has branched out its scripted programming with ABC import Devious Maids and reality staples including Project Runway, Dance Moms, Bring It and Little Women: L.A. Moreover, the female-skewing cabler has re-established itself a destination for TV movies with ratings grabs including Flowers in the Attic, Aaliyah, Lizzie Borden, the Unauthorized Saved By the Bell Story, among others.
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