Robert Mills has been promoted to SVP Alternative Series, Specials & Late-Night Programming for ABC Entertainment effective immediately. Mills, previously a VP, had been running ABC’s alternative department on an interim basis since the November departure of the network’s previous head of alternative, EVP Lisa Berger, after a rocky year-long tenure.

millsWhile as a VP he could be considered a little junior for the top alternative programming post at a network, Mills is well liked within ABC and in the reality TV community. He emerged as a frontrunner for the job early in the process. Disney-ABC has been more successful in promoting within than bringing in outside executives, which was the case with former E! programmer Berger. When former ABC reality chief Andrea Wong left in 2007 to go to Lifetime, her lieutenants John Saade & Vicki Dummer were given the reins of the department.

Mills is being charged with development of alternative series, current production and specials, reporting to ABC Entertainment Group president Paul Lee.

“Rob is a passionate and creative executive with strong leadership skills,” Lee said. “His instincts and unparalleled knowledge of pop culture are certain to help invigorate our fantastic reality team.”

In his previous position, Mills was considered instrumental to the success of The Bachelor franchise, AFV and Jimmy Kimmel Live. Mills has overseen production on Shark Tank, Dancing With The Stars; The Taste; the new series from Ellen DeGeneres’ company, Repeat After Me; and Mark Burnett’s upcoming 500 Questions. Mills’ role also included oversight of network special events, including the American Music Awards, the CMA Awards, Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin Eve With Ryan Seacrest, The Billboard Awards and the upcoming 87th Oscars.

Prior to joining the ABC alternative department in 2003, Mills was an assistant in the Alternative Department at CAA.