Douglas McCormick, a 10-year veteran of Lifetime Television, has been named president and chief operating officer of Hearst/Viacom Entertainment Services, the parent company of Lifetime Television and Lifetime Medical Television.
He will replace Thomas Burchill, who left the position a month ago to take over at Petry Inc.
McCormick takes the reins of the women-targeted network despite a campaign by outside groups for a woman to get the top job at Lifetime. Some argued that the web would be better served by a woman president and pointed to the fact that no women are on the HAVES board.
The newly named president has been at the company since its inception and most recently served as an executive VP of Lifetime and a group VP of HAVES. In that capacity, McCormick has been responsible for the company’s marketing, advertising sales, affiliate relations, communications, public affairs, public relations and research departments.
McCormick has worked at the Samuel Goldwyn Co., Petry Inc., TeleRep and KCOP-TV L.A.
McCormick said the network would remaincommitted to its slate of firstrun programming on the drawing board. Those programs include the soon-to-launch daily talker for younger women hosted by Jane Pratt and a news program targeted at its core female audience.
McCormick cited a newly launched campaign called “Mission 100,” which solicits responses from the network’s audience and has so far resulted in many suggestions from the viewers.
“We’d like to see the network as an agent for change,” McCormick said yesterday. “Some of the responses have been that we’re doing it right, we’re doing a very good job.”
Critics, however, have called the network’s original programming attempts failures. Few of the network’s attempts at original programming have lasted longer than initial production runs.
Others complain that the network’s lineup of off-network programming puts Lifetime on the same plane as the USA Network, which also relies heavily on off-network fare to fill the day. Both have been criticized for creating cable-delivered independent stations.
McCormick dismissed such complaints, saying the economics make the comparison of off-network and original programming unfair.
In addition to Lifetime, McCormick serves on the board of directors of the Intl. Radio and Television Society and the Intl. Radio and Television Foundation.