Like so many of her grade-school classmates, Rachel Falleroni loved TV. It wouldn’t be unusual to find her tuning in to the shenanigans of Ann Romano, Schneider, and the rest of the gang on One Day at a Time, for example.
But what may have been a bit atypical is that her affection wasn’t just for the shows themselves—but for analyzing the decision-making of the lineups.
“You could say on a very small level that I was thinking like the executives,” she laughs. “Why did they move this show from one night to another? Why did they group these particular shows together? I was unbelievably excited, waiting for the fall preview issue of TV Guide. My mom would buy it for me in the grocery store, and I would already be analyzing it and making comments before we reached the checkout line.”
So, when she graduated from Denison in 1995, she headed for New York City, on a Greyhound bus with three suitcases in hand, to search for a big break in television. In 1996, she joined Showtime as an assistant in the programming department.
“It was a terrific time to be there,” she says. “They realized there were audiences being underserved. The L Word. Queer as Folk. Soul Food. These shows were groundbreaking and set the stage for shows that followed. That felt great to be a part of.” Falleroni developed scheduling strategy for nearly all the networks of Showtime and rose to become senior director.
She would eventually leave for an exciting opportunity at The Horse TV Channel in 2005 as VP, Head of Programming, leading the launch and strategy creation for the emerging network. Then two years later in 2007, she would be tapped by Starz to develop their programming and promotion strategy as the company launched into the original series game. She would ultimately oversee the strategy for seven original series, including Spartacus and Boss.
Even though Falleroni was having her share of success, she wanted the experience of programming for an international audience. Joining the Latin American division of Discovery in 2011, she became the head of programming for Liv, the only general entertainment network within the global Discovery portfolio, and rose to oversee programming for seven brands in the region with a focus on Colombia.
She is now happily the head of programming for Discovery Family Channel, back in the U.S. market, acquiring family-friendly content and developing original series like Reno, Set, Go!, in which family members nominate other family members to win major home renovations. “It’s a sneak-attack renovation with heart,” says Falleroni.
Two decades after her career start, Falleroni looks back on it all and laughs fondly at the little girl taking in the TV lineups at the grocery store.
“I still feel the same passion,” she says.