In Depth

Women in Television: Kate Juergens

Who: Kate Juergens, executive VP, original series programming and development, ABC Family.

Women in TV

Why: Like the shows she develops for ABC Family, Ms. Juergens has an optimistic point of view. And with good reason. Since she joined the network, a string of hits aimed at teens and young adults has emerged. There’s “Wildfire,” “Kyle XY,” “Greek” and the summer’s blockbuster, “Secret Life of the American Teenager,” which often had more viewers than The CW’s much more hyped “Gossip Girl.”

“When we first developed ‘Secret Life,’ I was craving that ‘thirtysomething’ model, where you see smart people talk about difficult things. And then ‘Secret Life’ fell into my lap,” said Ms. Juergens. No one could have predicted how popular the show became. “I am so surprised. Happily, gratefully surprised. But it really struck a chord.”

What: For an encore, Ms. Juergens recently ordered a trio of pilots: a TV version of the feature film “10 Things I Hate About You”; a multicamera comedy about a girl who finds out the father she never knew is a former pop star (and it’s staffed by people who should know—Sean Cassidy is producing and brothers David and Patrick star); and “Perfect 10,” an hour about teenage competitive gymnasts and their families.

Ms. Juergens says the channel’s success will breed success. “I’ve been really gratified by the fact that our success has been attracting higher-level talent to the network, which has been wonderful,” she said.