Lifetime has been searching for someone to fill the post since SVP, scripted programming and development Nina Lederman exited for All3Media America in February.
Klein is a former Regency Television and Lionsgate programming exec who has been with Warner Bros.- and CBS-owned net The CW since 2010.
At female-skewed Lifetime, she will report to executive VP and head of programming Liz Gateley, who said: “Joanna is talented and well-respected with a long history of developing some of television’s biggest hits,” said Gateley.
“I am absolutely thrilled that she is joining the Lifetime team to lead our scripted series efforts and I know she will attract the very best creative talent to our ‘Fempire’.”
Klein will be based in LA and oversee development and production of scripted series. A+E Networks-owned Lifetime is best known for its original telemovies and has had a recent critical hit with reality TV-themed drama UnREAL.
At The CW, she was senior VP, development. She worked with US studios, writers and producers while co-running the scripted development and creating 450 pilots scripts.
She co-developed Jane the Virgin and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and worked on series such as Gossip Girl, Vampire Diaries and Arrow after joining in 2006.
Before that, she was VP, programming at Regency TV, where she developed FX series Thief and NBC drama Windfall. She also worked at Lionsgate, where she was VP, television series, and had spells at Imagine Television, Walt Disney Television and Goldman Sachs.
Klein’s new boss, Gateley, rejoined A+E Networks, where she had begun her career, last year after leaving for MTV.