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Profile: Brian Donlan

Apr 1, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Title: VP and general manager, iVillage Television. He oversees the Newborn Channel and the creation of the Wellness Channel.
Background: Mr. Donlon joined iVillage in 2001 after working with CBS’s “The Early Show” and with Internet start-up www.athlete.com. He worked at Lifetime Television for more than six years in the mid ’90s, launching a sports division dedicated to women’s sports. Previously, he served as a reporter for 12 years with USA Today covering sports, entertainment and television.
Making his mark: In the year he has been with iVillage, Mr. Donlon has shepherded the Newborn Channel, for which he created and executive produced two new series, “Newborn Woman” and “Parent Soup.” The latter is based on the iVillage Web site of the same name. He also acquired Oprah Winfrey’s “Begin With Love” program. This summer, the network, which is carried via satellite to more than 1,100 hospitals around the country, plans to add two new shows-one on breastfeeding created by iVillage and a general interest parenting show that will be acquired. “The hospitals use this as patient education, so we have to be responsible to them. A lot of the programming is a little dated, so in order to stay relevant we have to get the shows jazzed up,” Mr. Donlon said. The eight-hour loop of programming is refreshed with about one to two new hours each quarter.
Upcoming plans: In the fourth quarter, iVillage plans to install new receivers at its hospital partners to replace their current analog boxes. The new receivers will contain personal video recorder functionality and allow for 30 hours of storage. That will make it possible for the company to beam additional channels to the hospitals, such as the Wellness Channel, which will cover living with a diagnosis, he said. iVillage will test the channel with four hospitals at the end of April and plans for a national launch to about 300 hospitals in the fourth quarter.
Future developments: iVillage is currently developing plans and programming to introduce a general interest parenting channel for digital distribution in the middle of next year. The flagship show would be “Parent Soup.” In addition, the network could air movies like “Parenthood” and wrap them during breaks with parenting panels to discuss issues in the movie, Mr. Donlon said.