EVP of Development & Programming, Lifetime Unscripted
Emmy-nominated programming executive, Gena McCarthy, serves as Executive Vice President, Head of Programming, Lifetime Unscripted and Head of Programming, FYI. She returned to Lifetime in March 2018 in an expanded role to oversee all non-fiction development and production. She developed and executive produces smash franchise, Critic’s Choice Nominated Married at First Sight and its spin-offs, now airing on Lifetime; new series including Marrying Millions and Cheerleader Generation; and oversees the brand’s upcoming re-launch of Dance Moms and Supernanny with original star, Jo Frost.
Prior to this, McCarthy served as Senior Vice President, Programming and Development of FYI since September 2013. In that role, McCarthy helped create and launch the breakthrough lifestyle entertainment brand for AETN. In her role overseeing all fyi original programming, she developed and launched hit global formats including Married at First Sight, Seven Year Switch, Bride & Prejudice and Tiny House Nation.
McCarthy joined Lifetime Networks in 2010 as Senior Vice President, Reality and Alternative Programming. In this position, she led all development and production of the network’s unscripted programming. McCarthy oversaw the development and creation of the popular hit series Dance Moms and its spin-off Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition, as well as Preachers’ Daughters, Project Runway All-Stars, Pretty Wicked Moms and Kim of Queens. She also developed the hit series Bring It! and led production of the Emmy-nominated smash hit Project Runway and the award-winning Coming Home, among others.
Prior to joining Lifetime, McCarthy was Senior Vice President Development and Production for Discovery Channel, where she managed the creation and execution of more than 500 primetime series and specials, including the innovative hits Pitchmen, Dual Survivor and The Colony. She also oversaw the development and production teams across all content, including blockbusters Deadliest Catch, Life, Stormchasers and Man vs. Wild. In an earlier tenure at Discovery, McCarthy was Executive Producer of brand-definitional hit series and stunts including Dirty Jobs, Mythbusters and Shark Week.
From 2006 to 2008, McCarthy was Vice President, Development and Production at WE tv, where she launched successful series and specials for the network. She created the hit series My Fair Wedding, oversaw Bridezillas to record growth, and co-created and ran the network’s signature prime-time wedding block. McCarthy also developed key hit series including The Locator, High School Confidential and Women Behind Bars.
A six-year veteran of TLC’s programming and production units from 1998-2004, McCarthy co-developed and executive produced multiple successful series and specials for the network. She co-developed the groundbreaking genre-buster Junkyard Wars and executive produced series including Mostly True Stories: Urban Legends Revealed, In a Fix, For Better or For Worse and Faking It.
McCarthy began her career at WQED Pittsburgh, where she started as a Copywriter and Publicist, and was eventually named Manager of Development and Production on the children’s series Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego and the Wonderworks family movie franchise.
McCarthy graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a B.A. in English Writing and History. She currently resides in Montclair, NJ.