Maria Grasso joins Oprah Network

Former Lifetime exec named senior VP

Former Lifetime programming exec Maria Grasso has joined the Oprah Winfrey Network as senior VP of programming.

Grasso will join Nina Wass in overseeing development of scripted, alternative, short and longform programming for the new cable channel, a venture being jointly launched by Winfrey’s Harpo Prods. and Discovery Networks. Grasso and Wass also will manage OWN’s creative department, production and scheduling.

In her new capacity, Grasso will report to OWN entertainment topper Robin Schwartz.

Insiders confirmed in mid-September that Grasso was prepping to head for OWN since she’d just been passed over for the top programming job at Lifetime. That network named JoAnn Alfano as its exec VP of entertainment, replacing the recently departed Susanne Daniels. It was Daniels who recruited Grasso to Lifetime in December 2005, where she served as senior VP, series development and current programming.

On Monday, Lifetime announced that Nina Lederman had been named senior VP, series programming and development.

Prior to joining Lifetime, Grasso served as senior VP of drama development for the WB, where she helped develop such series as “Everwood” and “One Tree Hill.”