Weeks after Variety first reported that she was leaving her role as TV chief at Core Media, Lionsgate Television Group chairman Kevin Beggs announced Thursday that Jennifer O’Connell would be joining his ranks as executive vice president of alternative programming.
“Expanding our footprint in alternative programming is a high priority for Lionsgate and we’re delighted Jennifer is joining us to help lead that effort,” Beggs said. “She is a highly accomplished executive and an important addition to our senior management team as we continue to build and diversify our television business.”
O’Connell will oversee the development and production of Lionsgate’s unscripted slate across all platforms.
“I’m thrilled to join Lionsgate to work with Kevin, Sandra (Stern, Lionsgate Television Group COO), along with the rest of the TV team to add to the company’s outstanding slate of innovative original content,” O’Connell said. “I see extraordinary opportunities to grow the alternative television business and I am excited to be able to do it with Lionsgate, which is known for producing quality content for every platform.”
The hire is another example of Lionsgate increasing its reality TV presence. The company recently signed an overall deal with “The Hills” creator Adam DiVello. Last year, it signed an overall with science-fiction skewing reality producer Dave Caplan.
At that time, Beggs said that “continued growth in the area of alternative programming is a high priority for our TV division and we are always looking for terrific partners.”
O’Connell had been Core’s head of television since 2012. There, she launched the company’s original TV arm and oversaw development and production of all programs in the U.S. Prior to Core, she was exec VP of Shed Media U.S., where she led the development and production of original unscripted content and executive produced shows like Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of New York City” and its spinoff “Bethenny Ever After.” She also spent seven years at NBC, where she oversaw projects like the development of and first four seasons of “The Biggest Loser.”