ABC Reality Chief John Saade To Depart

Exec helped oversee series like 'Dancing With the Stars,' 'Wipeout'

John Saade,  exec veep of alternative and late-night programming at ABC is leaving, the Walt Disney network confirmed.

John is a very talented executive who has made enormous contributions to ABC and the reality genre, developing some truly innovative, buzz worthy programming and growing some of our most important franchises.,” said ABC Entertainment prexy Paul Lee in a statement. :”We will miss his passion and enthusiasm and wish him nothing but the very best.”

Saade assumed the role in June 2011, after serving as senior veep, alternative series, specials and late night,

Saade is the latest in a string of network reality heads to leave their roosts. Mike Darnell, the former Fox exec who was arguably the dean of the genre, known for launching everything from “American Idol” and “Hell’s Kitchen” to “Anchorwoman” and “Moment of Truth,” left Fox in May, and has since landed at Warner Brothers. Former CBS reality chief Jennifer Bresnan left the Eye in August to move to be with her New York based husband, CBS Corp. CFO Joe Ianiello.

To be sure, ABC has some reality warhorses – think “Dancing With the Stars” and “The Bachelor” – but they have grown long in the tooth. “Shark Tank” is developing into a veteran series, but its province is Friday nights, not an evening for TV’s biggest audiences. ABC has not struck gold in the reality genre as of late.

One person said to be in the  running for ABC’s now-empty reality slot is Lisa Berger, a former head of entertainment programming at E! She left the NBCU cabler in January after a nine-year stint that included developing that network’s “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” franchise. A spokeswoman at ABC said the network declined to comment.

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