WE Expands Programming Team with Two New Hires
Steve Cheskin Appointed Senior Vice President of Programming Gena McCarthy Appointed Vice President of Development and Production
Network Announces Two New Original Series Dirty Dancing: Living the Dream and Designer to the Stars: Kari Whitman and the Return of the Hit Series John Edward Cross Country
New York, New York, May 30, 2006 - Following a record breaking ratings quarter for the network, WE announced today that Steve Cheskin has been appointed Senior Vice President of Programming and Gena McCarthy has joined the network as Vice President of Development and Production. The only cable network dedicated to helping women connect to one another and the world around them, WE has seen record ratings success with its increased programming slate and overall expansion during the past year. The network is on pace for the 05/06 season to be the best in network history for Prime M-Su 8p-11p delivery of HH, W18-34, W18-49, W25-49 and W25-54. To date in 05/06, WE has +260% more original telecasts during Prime M-Su 8p-11p than in the same time period during the 04/05 season, resulting in HH ratings growth of 50% from 1Q05 to 1Q06.
In conjunction with today's announcement, WE announced the addition of two new original series, Dirty Dancing: Living the Dream and Designer to the Stars: Kari Whitman, and an additional episode order for the hit series John Edward Cross Country to join the network's growing list of original programming. The series premiere of John Edward Cross Country ranks as the highest rated original series premiere in network history for WE.
"Steve and Gena will be a wonderful addition to our WE programming team as we continue to grow our original programming," stated Kim Martin, WE's General Manager and Executive Vice President. "With the addition of two new original series, the return of our hit series John Edward Cross Country, and a line-up of originals in the works, it is pertinent that we have a strong programming team in place. During his time as a consultant Steve has proved that he shares the network's passion and dedication for creating engaging original programming that our viewers enjoy. Gena also has an impressive background in production and programming, creating some very compelling original programs."
Cheskin joined WE last March as a programming consultant, and has been instrumental in the ratings growth the network experienced over the past year. He has helped ramp up the network's original programming slate, including greenlighting WE's hit original series American Princess, Secret Lives of Women and John Edward Cross Country. In his new role as Senior Vice President of Programming, Cheskin is charged with overseeing program development, production, scheduling and acquisitions for the network. In her role as Vice President of Development and Production, McCarthy will work with Cheskin and the programming team in developing series, specials and stunts for the network. McCarthy will also oversee WE's team of executive producers guiding them as they take development ideas to production and to air.
Following are descriptions of the original series scheduled to join WE's programming line-up.
JOHN EDWARD CROSS COUNTRY
John Edward Cross Country is a documentary style series that shows acclaimed psychic medium John Edward as he travels across America to conduct readings, and follows him as he goes home with some of the families he has helped during his large group sessions. The series goes behind the scenes to hear more about each family's compelling story, giving viewers an up-close and personal look at the family's journey of healing and growth and the ways in which Edward's work impacts people's lives. The six new one-hour episodes will premiere on August 25, 2006 at 10 pm ET, adding to the original order of eight episodes. JECO Productions produces John Edward Cross Country.
DIRTY DANCING: LIVING THE DREAM
The movie is an American classic, the DVD a best seller, and now Dirty Dancing: Living the Dream the competition series is poised to hit the airwaves with all the hot beats, seductive dancing, and fairytale dreams that had people around the world wishing for a romance like Johnny and Baby. Dirty Dancing: Living the Dream brings 30 young women to a "Kellerman's" like resort where they meet six male dance instructors. Through a series of energetic performances and personal interaction each male instructor will select one woman to be his partner for the final dance off. The winning couple will earn a spot in the Dirty Dancing live stage show, currently touring the globe. Hosted by professional choreographer Cris Judd, the half-hour, eight-episode series will premiere on December 6, 2006. Dirty Dancing: Living the Dream is produced by Don Weiner Productions and distributed by Lionsgate.
DESIGNER TO THE STARS: KARI WHITMAN
Meet Kari Whitman -a vivacious, fun-loving LA single, Hollywood insider, interior designer to the stars, and self-admitted perfectionist whose days are filled with surprises. Whether it is turning A-listers including Jessica Alba, Virginia Madsen, Kristen Bell, and Kurtwood Smith's homes into high-end abodes, to her evenings spent placing dogs in loving homes through her charity, Ace of Hearts, to planning a girl's night out, there is no project too big for Kari to handle. Kari's passion for perfection, oft times zany behavior and high-energy antics tend to turn her days upside down, but nothing she can't handle. Its Kari's zest for life and these endearing qualities that make her so good at what she does, so appealing to work with, and infectious to be around. And how many women could do all this and keep it together, in a pair of stilettos and without ever having a single hair out of place? Kari juggles it all and gives 110% to everything she does; you'll ask where she finds the time to do it all. And like many women out there she just does. The half-hour series will air eight episodes premiering on January 6, 2007. Designer to the Stars: Kari Whitman is produced by GRB.
Prior to his post at WE, Cheskin was Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Travel Channel where he oversaw all programming, management, business development and operations for the network. During his tenure at the Travel Channel, Prime Household delivery more than tripled, and at the time of his departure 23 of the top 27 telecasts in the network's history had been developed under Cheskin's direction. Prior to the Travel Channel, Cheskin worked at TLC, where he was Vice President of Programming and helped to broaden the scope of the networks programming, including developing the network's highest rated series Trauma: Life in the ER. Cheskin also previously was Manager of Affiliate Marketing and Planning at Discovery Channel, where he developed such stunt ideas as Shark Week, the network's celebrate and highly-rated annual programming event. Early in his career, Cheskin worked in sales and production for Storer Cable and worked various freelance production assignments. Cheskin received an M.A. in Radio-TV-Film and a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from the University of Maryland.
McCarthy previously worked at Discovery Channel, where she was an Executive Producer and executive produced a variety of series and specials including Dirty Jobs, Mythbusters and Deadliest Catch. Prior to her position at Discovery Channel, McCarthy was an Executive Producer at TLC working on specials and series such as For Better or For Worse, Faking It and Junkyard Megawars. While at TLC, McCarthy also worked in programming as a writer, identifying new formats and program genres for the network. McCarthy began her career at WQED Pittsburgh, a local PBS affiliate, working as Manager of Development and Production for the networks national projects. McCarthy received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pittsburgh.
**Source: Nielsen Media Research, Prime M-Su 8p-11p daypart average for 1Q06 12/26/05-3/26/06 vs.1Q05 12/27/04-3/27/05; 02/03 STD 09/30/02-04/27/03; 03/04 09/29/03-04/25/04; 04/05 STD 09/27/04-04/24/05 vs 05/06 STD 09/26/05-04/30/06 Live HH, Women 18-34, Women 18-49, Women 25-49, and Women 25-54 Audience during Prime M-Su 8p-11p. WE Originals based on Prime M-Su 8p-11p telecasts 04/05 STD 09/27/04-04/24/05 vs 05/06 STD 09/26/05-04/30/06; Season finale of American Princess on 9/11/05 @ 10p compared to all WE historical telecasts (12/31/01-3/26/06)
WE is the only cable network dedicated to helping women connect to one another and the world around them. With quality original programming including the hit series "Bridezillas," unique movie packages like "Three Men and A Chick Flick," topical specials and its public affairs initiative WE Empowers Women, the network supports women and appeals to their interests in pop culture, relationships and personal style. WE tv is a subsidiary of Rainbow Entertainment Services and is currently seen in over 59 million homes.
About Rainbow Media Holdings LLC
A leader in the entertainment industry, Rainbow Media Holdings LLC is a subsidiary of Cablevision Systems Corporation. Rainbow creates and manages some of the country's most compelling and dynamic programming with linear networks including national networks - AMC, fuse, IFC (The Independent Film Channel) and WE; its regional programming service - Rainbow Sports Networks; on-demand networks including Mag Rack and sportskool; and the largest suite of high definition channels available anywhere - the VOOM HD Networks. Rainbow's other businesses include its film distribution, production and exhibition division - IFC Entertainment; in addition to its advertising sales division - Rainbow Advertising Sales Corporation - and its full service network programming origination and distribution company - Rainbow Network Communications.