ABC's Andrea Wong Takes Over at Lifetime

Helped Bring 'Dancing With Stars,' 'Wife Swap' to the Network

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NEW YORK ( -- Lifetime wasted no time filling the hole left when President-CEO Betty Cohen announced her departure yesterday, just one day after the networks' upfront presentation in New York. Andrea Wong will fill the position today, coming from her position at ABC as exec VP-alternative programming, specials and late-night. Lifetime is a 50/50 venture of the Hearst Corp. and ABC parent Walt Disney Co. Ms. Wong takes charge of Lifetime Television, Lifetime Movie Network, Lifetime Real Women and Lifetime Digital.
Andrea Wong
Andrea Wong

During her run at ABC, Ms. Wong helped usher in a number of hit reality series, including "Dancing With The Stars," "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," "The Bachelor" and "Wife Swap." Since her Lifetime role takes immediate effect, ABC is already in the process of finding her replacement. Ms. Wong's first major appearance for Lifetime will be in Las Vegas next month at the Cable Show.

Ms. Wong spoke with MediaWorks just moments after her hiring was announced about her initial plans for the network and her new team.

MediaWorks: Just yesterday Betty Cohen announced her departure from Lifetime. As of today, you're the new boss. Have you had time to think about your plans for the network yet?

Andrea Wong: It all evolved pretty quickly. The great thing is I'm here and I'm really excited to start.

MediaWorks: Given your background in programming at ABC with female-friendly shows such as "Dancing With The Stars" and "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," can we expect similar projects at Lifetime?

Ms. Wong: What I'm excited about is Susanne Daniels is such a strong creative person and I'm fortunate to have her overseeing my creative development. I plan on delving into everything, looking at what's worked and what's not, and moving from there.

MediaWorks: is about to relaunch in June with expanded features. Did you have any experience in digital properties at ABC?

Ms. Wong: Only to the extent that they were related to my shows. What I think is important is for the Lifetime brand to exist for women everywhere they could possibly want it, whether it's on TV, mobile or online. It's certainly going to be a big priority.

MediaWorks: You step into this job just before this year's upfront. How will you be involved with that?

Ms. Wong: What I'm really excited about is [exec VP-ad sales] Lynn Picard is here, who is brilliant and I know will do incredibly well running the upfront for us with her team. I'll be looking to her to help guide me through it.

MediaWorks: How will you wrap up things at ABC?

Ms. Wong: I will go back tomorrow. The good news for Steve [McPherson, president of entertainment] and everyone at ABC is there's an incredibly strong team there.

MediaWorks: Any final thoughts on your new job?

Ms. Wong: I'm really looking forward to getting in there and couldn't be more excited. I feel incredibly fortunate.
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