Jennifer O’Connell exits Lionsgate, replaced by Starz exec

Jennifer O’Connell has departed Lionsgate after less than four years.

The EVP of alternative programming has exited the business, and is expected to join a streaming platform in a senior unscripted role.

O’Connell – who joined Lionsgate after almost three years as head of television at Core Media Group – exits just months after the departure of Peter Iacono, president of international television and digital distribution.

Lionsgate acquired Starz in December 2016, and is increasingly beginning to operate as a merged entity. Starz boss Chris Albrecht left the channel after almost a decade at the helm in February.

Lionsgate has promoted Alice Dickens Koblin to SVP and head of unscripted programming for both Starz and Lionsgate.

In the newly expanded role, the exec – who joined Starz earlier this year – will head up the development and production of unscripted programming for both Lionsgate Television and Starz. Her remit will cover docuseries, celebrity-driven reality programmes and lifestyle series.

Prior to joining Starz, Dickens Koblin served as VP of series development at MTV as well as VP of alternative programming for Warner Horizon Television, where she developed international formats and original series for broadcast and cable. She began her career at Oxygen Network developing and producing both scripted and unscripted programming, including a wide range of celebrity-driven docuseries and formats.

Lionsgate Television Group chairman Kevin Beggs said: “We’re thrilled to promote an executive from within the Starz ranks to this key leadership position in our television business. Alice is a talented executive with great programming skills and strong talent relationships who has already energised Starz’s unscripted slate, and she is ideally qualified to move our unscripted business company-wide to the next level.”

Lionsgate’s unscripted slate includes the Steve James-directed Starz docuseries America To Me, Joe Berlinger’s Wrong Man, Warriors Of Liberty City and TNT’s Chasing The Cure.

O’Connell’s departure was first reported by US outlet The Hollywood Reporter.