Betty Cohen

Betty Cohen
Betty Cohen

former president & ceo
Lifetime Entertainment


In April 2005, Betty Cohen, one of the cable industry's most respected, innovative and consistently successful brand builders and programmers, was named president and CEO of Lifetime Entertainment Services, a 50/50 joint venture of The Hearst Corporation and The Walt Disney Company.

In this role, Ms. Cohen oversees all properties of Lifetime Entertainment Services, which encompasses Lifetime Television, the leader in women's television and one of the top-rated basic cable television networks, available in more than 89 million homes; Lifetime Movie Network, the second highest rated women's basic cable network, reaching nearly 50 million homes; Lifetime Real Women; Lifetime Online; and a proliferation of brand extensions, including Lifetime Radio for Women, Lifetime Home Entertainment, Lifetime Press and numerous award-winning public advocacy campaigns. She is responsible for all day-to-day operations, such as advertising sales, affiliate sales, research, programming and strategic planning.

Cohen came to Lifetime well-known within the cable industry for identifying and empowering talent and for revolutionizing whatever category or genre in which she is involved. The scope of Cohen's senior executive experience has ranged from launching and running domestic and international cable channels to developing Web sites and Web-enhanced TV events, greenlighting and executive-producing original entertainment series and documentary films, and presiding over ancillary businesses in a wide variety of consumer product categories and the education market.

Prior to joining Lifetime, Ms. Cohen was president of Betty Cohen Media Consulting, LLC, which she founded in September 2002. In this position, she developed multi-platform programs and services targeting 16-30 year-olds, as well as consulted for other companies in the areas of brand building and cable channel development.

Cohen is a 14-year veteran of Turner Broadcasting Systems, Inc., serving in various positions from 1988 to 2002. During her tenure, she was the senior executive who oversaw the creation and launch of the all-animation Cartoon Network. In July 1994, she became president of Cartoon Network Worldwide, which encompassed building the Cartoon Network brand and popularizing its characters -- both classic and original -- across multiple entertainment platforms. She also oversaw; Cartoon Network Studios, a state-of-the-art, 45,000-square-foot production facility based in Burbank, California and home to such acclaimed series as 'Power Puff Girls,' 'Dexter's Lab,' 'Samurai Jack'; and programming strategies and brand marketing for Cartoon Networks Europe, Latin America, Asia/Pacific and Japan, which reach more than 140 million homes in 14 languages in 145 countries worldwide.

Cohen greenlit all Cartoon Network original program production and authorized all program acquisition deals. She also oversaw character marketing and merchandising strategy for Cartoon Network's original series, including 'The Powerpuff Girls,' which in 2000 generated more than 0 million in retail sales, earning the prestigious "License of the Year" and "Entertainment License of the Year" awards from LIMA (Licensing Industry Merchandisers Association) in June 2001.

She also presided over the business case and start-up program development for the now wildly successful 'Adult Swim' brand extension, greenlighting 'Harvey Birdman' and 'Aqua Teen Hunger Force,' as well as the launch of Boomerang, a separate digital television service showcasing classic cartoon entertainment from the golden age of television.

While running Cartoon Network, from 1996 to 2001, she headed Turner Learning, the company's educational division providing curricula materials free of charge to teachers and students across the country.

In June 2001, Cohen received the "PROMAX/BDA Pinnacle Award" and Multichannel News's "Global Programming Award.' In 2000, Cohen was named one of "The 50 Most Powerful Women in Business" by Fortune magazine and received the prestigious NCTA Vanguard Award for programmers. In June 1999, she was cited by Advertising Age as one of the country's 'Top 100 Marketers.' In addition, Cohen was named the 'PROMAX International Marketer of the Year' in 1997. Advertising Age also named Cartoon Network "Cable Marketer of the Year" for 1998.

Prior to founding Cartoon Network, Cohen was senior vice president and general manager of Turner Network Television (TNT) from July 1990 to December 1991. She joined TNT in 1988 having spent four years as director of on-air promotion and interstitial programming for Nickelodeon/Nick at Nite. Between 1982 and 1984, Cohen worked as a writer-producer of on-air promotion for Cable Health Network and became managing senior producer of on-air promotion for Lifetime Television. She began her career in 1977 as a broadcast producer for Public Media Center in San Francisco.

Cohen serves on the board of trustees for American Women in Radio and Television (AWRT), as an Honorary Chair of Cable Positive, and as Director for the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. She is also on the board of directors for the Southeast region of the Anti-Defamation League and the board of advisors for both the Atlanta Girls' School and Roadtrip Nation. In addition, she mentored Atlanta area teacher corps for Teach for America.

Cohen has also served on the board of trustees for the AOL Time Warner Foundation and the National Cable Television Association's Executive Committee for "Cable in the Classroom."

Cohen earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications from Stanford University, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa.