Lifetime exec focuses on programming
Andrea Wong’s appointment atop Lifetime this spring sent a strong message inside and outside the femme-centric network: Programming is top priority.Once the No. 1 basic cable web, Lifetime has more recently struggled to stay relevant among its core audience — particularly younger women, who are being courted by virtually every broadcast and cable web in the TV universe. Wong knows a thing or two about attracting young women, having developed ratings magnets “The Bachelor” and “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” as ABC’s reality topper. What’s more, she also turned “Dancing With the Stars” — a multigenerational fave — into a hit. “My hope is to infuse the Lifetime brand with energy, vibrancy, relevance and optimism,” Wong says. “What excited me about coming to Lifetime was the opportunity to hyper-focus on women, to in effect not only entertain them and provide a great escape for them, but to inform them, to empower them, to speak to them directly with a goal of ultimately forging an even deeper connection.” As Lifetime’s new president and CEO, Wong oversees Lifetime and Lifetime Movie Network, the top two female-targeted nets. She also oversees the revamped LifetimeTV.com website and Lifetime’s extensive public advocacy campaigns, among other facets of the company. Wong’s tenure is off to a good start: The new drama “Army Wives” quickly turned into one of this summer’s biggest hits, and Lifetime’s top-rated original series ever. And while the show was already in the works when Wong joined, Lifetime Entertainment president Susanne Daniels credits Wong with recruiting former WB marketing gurus Bob Bibb and Lew Goldstein, who helped launch “Army Wives” to much fanfare. Says Wong: “(The show) serves as the perfect example of where this brand is going.” Vocation: “TV executive” Recent breakthrough: “Getting a dream job to engage and empower millions of women.” Role model: “My parents. … They are people of incredible values and integrity, and I have the great fortune to be the beneficiary of their wisdom and love.” Career mantra: “Treat people well. And any credit for that goes to my role models.” What’s next: “Building on the success of ‘Army Wives,’ bringing more great stories and stars to our Lifetime and LMN Original Movies.”
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