VH1 Programming Boss Susan Levison Exiting After Two Years with Viacom

Susan Levison is exiting VH1, after over two years with the Viacom company, Variety has confirmed. Levison’s departure is one of many recent exec changes at Viacom.

Current VH1 programming execs Jill Holmes and Nina Diaz will “step up” and assume her duties, though Levison is not being directly replaced. Holmes and Diaz will report to VH1 general manager Chris McCarthy, who sent an internal memo to the network’s staff today.

Levison joined VH1 in 2013 as exec vice president of original programming and production, coming from Fishbowl Worldwide Media, replacing Jeff Olde who is now at E! Prior, she was a longtime Fox exec.

At Fox, Levison, whose exit was first reported by The Hollywood Reporter, was senior vice president of comedy development, overseeing series including “Bob’s Burgers.” She also worked in drama development at the network, working on the launches of “House,” “Prison Break” and “Bones,” plus the alternative department where she worked on “American Idol,” “Temptation Island” and “The Simple Life.”

Per McCarthy’s Wednesday memo, Levison will continue to oversee VH1 development projects that she put in place for the next few months, during the transition period.

See McCarthy’s memo, in full, below:

Hi Everyone,

I want to share some important news with you today. Susan Levison will be stepping down from her position as EVP Original Programming & Production. I’m happy to say that while we will miss her on a day-to-day basis, Susan will continue to oversee a number of key projects in development over the next few months.

In her time here at VH1, Susan has expanded our boundaries of creativity. From naked daters to time travelers — Susan pushed the network to new levels of creativity on both the reality and scripted fronts. She is an unabashed risk taker and a passionate story teller.  We are grateful for her energy and dedication.  

Thankfully, Susan leaves us in great shape on two very important fronts: We’ve got real ratings momentum. We are up 6% for fourth quarter with prime time ratings and up 33% in October; she has put a tremendous development team in place. As we continue to evolve the brand to capitalize on our pop culture DNA, Susan has installed a deep bench of creative executives led by Nina Diaz on the East Coast and Jill Holmes on the West Coast.  

Moving forward, Jill and Nina will both step up and report directly to me.  Jill Holmes, a VH1 veteran, has been behind some of the brands most beloved franchises including “Flavor of Love,” “Rock of Love” and “Behind The Music.” Jill will continue to lead the West Coast team which oversees the recently renewed “Dating Naked,” the first of family of VH1 “T.I. and Tiny” and our longest running franchise “Basketball Wives,” which recently finished its fifth season of “LA” making VH1 the #2 network among women on Sunday nights.

Nina Diaz has been behind some of the most iconic pop culture shows in history, including “My Super Sweet 16”, “Cribs” and “The Osbournes” when she was first with the company at MTV. She left to become an independent producer creating a string of hits for multiple networks, including VH1’s very own “Mob Wives.”  Since recently rejoining the Viacom family, Nina is the lead for the East Coast team and has overseen the expansion of our biggest franchise “Love and Hip Hop,” which continues to dominate and make VH1 the #1 cable network on Monday nights.

We have many exciting projects in the pipeline to continue our positive momentum and a number of new shows we are fast tracking for January. The future is bright for VH1 as we continue to drive and define the Pop Culture conversation. 

I want to thank all of you for your hard work and creativity. Please join me in wishing Susan the very best and thank her for her many contributions to VH1.

– Chris

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