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Lifetime Names CW Vet Joanna Klein Head of Scripted Development (EXCLUSIVE)

Joanna Klein Lifetime
Courtesy of Lifetime

Lifetime has hired Joanna Klein, a veteran drama executive at the CW, to head its scripted development efforts, Variety has learned.

Klein will serve as senior VP, scripted development. She replaces former development chief Nina Lederman, who departed the network last year shortly after producer and MTV alum Liz Gateley joined the cable channel as head of programming. Klein will report to Gateley.

“Joanna is talented and well-respected with a long history of developing some of television’s biggest hits,” Gateley said. “I am absolutely thrilled that she is joining the Lifetime team to lead our scripted series efforts and I know she will attract the very best creative talent to our Fempire.”

At the CW, Klein was co-head of drama development alongside Gaye Hirsch, a position the two had shared since 2011. Hirsch will now carry on solo in that role, and continue to report to Thom Sherman, exec VP for the broadcast network.

Klein joined the CW in 2006 as vice president, drama development. She was promoted to SVP in 2010. She had previously served as development VP at Regency Television and Lionsgate Television.

Klein helped develop early CW dramas such as “Gossip Girl” and “The Vampire Diaries.” With Klein and Hirsch leading development, the CW’s drama focus shifted away from female-skewing teen soaps toward genre fare and hour-long dramedies. Among the series Klein developed as co-head of drama were “The Flash,” “Jane The Virgin” and “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.”