Maria Grasso goes to Oprah

Exec departs Lifetime after being passed over

Lifetime original programming senior VP Maria Grasso is expected to ankle for rival Oprah Winfrey Network in the coming weeks.

A Lifetime spokesperson declined comment on Grasso’s potential departure, only to say that at the moment she’s still working at the cabler.

But insiders said Grasso’s departure was inevitable after she was passed over for the top programming job at Lifetime. Cabler recently named JoAnn Alfano as its exec VP of entertainment, replacing the recently departed Susanne Daniels.

Daniels recruited Grasso to join Lifetime in December 2005. Together, the execs developed the top-rated skein in Lifetime’s history, the drama “Army Wives.”

Before Lifetime, Grasso served as senior VP of drama at the WB, where she developed skeins such as “Everwood” and “One Tree Hill.” She also headed up comedy at Warner Bros. TV and spent time as a comedy development exec at Universal Television.

In her new capacity, Grasso would report to OWN entertainment topper Robin Schwartz. OWN has not yet named a CEO.

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