UPDATE: ABC is not commenting, but former E! Entertainment president of entertainment programming Lisa Berger is being rumored as a leading candidate to succeed John Saade as head of alternative. Berger abruptly left E! in January after a nine-year stint there.
PREVIOUS: The shakeup at the top of the broadcast networks’ reality departments continues. Veteran ABC reality executive John Saade is leaving the network. For the past two years, Saade served as EVP Alternative Series & Late Night Programming, overseeing all of ABC’s primetime alternative/reality series and Jimmy Kimmel Live. He previously co-ran the department with Vicki Dummer who now oversees current programming. “John is a very talented executive who has made enormous contributions to ABC and the reality genre, developing some truly innovative, buzz worthy programming and growing some of our most important franchises,” ABC president Paul Lee said. “We will miss his passion and enthusiasm and wish him nothing but the very best. As the reality genre is struggling on broadcast, there has been a change in the head of reality post at three of the four major networks in the past couple of months, with Saade, Fox’s Mike Darnell and CBS’ Jennifer Bresnan exiting. ABC is expected to name a replacement for Saade soon. While ABC boasts a hit with Shark Tank, a rare unscripted series that started slow but grew into a bona fide hit that also repeats well, the network’s only other successful unscripted franchises on the air, Dancing With The Stars and The Bachelor, are more than a decade all. None of the network’s reality efforts over the past couple of years have stuck though there have been modest successes like Secret Millionaire and The Taste.