Lisa Berger is leaving ABC after a one-year stint as EVP Alternative Series, Specials and Late-Night. The parting of the ways is attributed to creative differences. ABC’s VP Alternative Series Rob Mills is expected to oversee the network’s unscripted department until a replacement is found.
“I’m thankful for the the opportunity to run alternative at ABC, but in the end we found our creative sensibilities weren’t aligned,” Berger said. “I’m proud of the shows we developed and wish the team the greatest success in the future.”
Said ABC Entertainment Group president Paul Lee, “I want to thank Lisa for all her hard work and dedication to the ABC alternative brand, and we wish her the very best in her next venture.”
There had been rumblings for months that Berger’s background — she previously was President of Entertainment at E! — did not mesh well with the ABC culture, and that she did not feel like a good fit for the broadcast network and its programming team. It probably didn’t help that the first high-profile series acquired and launched on Berger’s watch, summer singing competition Rising Star, did not do well, though Lee in July described it as a noble effort that laid the groundwork for live voting on TV reality shows. The reality drought has not been limited to ABC — it’s been hard for all broadcast networks to find a new breakout franchise during the past couple of years.
During her nine-year tenure at E!, Berger shepherded such hit unscripted series as The Girls Next Door, Keeping Up With The Kardashians and its offshoots and late-night staple Chelsea Lately. Before E!, she was a creative executive at Fox Television Studios and MTV.