Introducing WTTW's New Head of Programming — And Her August Shows to Watch

Daniel Hautzinger
Lisa Tipton, WTTW's new Head of Programming and Pledge, and Ms. O from 'Odd Squad.'
Lisa Tipton, WTTW's new Head of Programming and Pledge, and Ms. O from 'Odd Squad.'

Last month, WTTW’s Senior Vice President and Chief Television Content Officer Dan Soles left WTTW and handed over the reins of constructing the WTTW schedule to Lisa Tipton, WTTW’s new Head of Programming and Pledge. It’s a dream job for Tipton, who has been working in programming at WTTW for sixteen years.

“I was a 10-year-old with a subscription to TV Guide,” she recalls. “I just loved those grids that they had in the magazine. I would also take the guide out of the Sunday Trib and go through that and highlight what I wanted to watch.”

So when she was trying to determine a career path, she decided she wanted to go into television. “I asked myself: ‘If I could do anything for 40 hours a week, what would it be?’ And my answer was watch TV,” she says, laughing. She started off at WTTW as a production intern on Wild Chicago. But when she met Soles and learned what his job was, she knew she wanted to do similar work. “I was like, ‘No way, you’re the guy who has the grids?!’ ”

Over time, she got to schedule more and more programming, starting with overnight shows, moving on to deciding the cooking line-ups and then programming WTTW Prime. Now she’s in charge of it all.

“I really like trying to figure out what our audience likes, and I do consider my job to be discovering what they like and finding more of that,” she says. “For example, if they like Death in Paradise,”—her own favorite—“will they like Shakespeare & Hathaway?”

She herself is a huge fan of the mysteries and cooking shows that WTTW airs. “I am an old Agatha Christie, parlor room, whodunit junkie,” she says. “I love the dramas, and Frontline. And one of the truly fun things of my job is to evaluate and choose the cooking programs, because that’s just exciting and informative.”

But the shows she enjoys are always changing, and can be surprising. Case in point: her programs to watch in August. There’s not a single mystery or cooking show! Find her recommendations below.

Animal Babies

Wednesdays at 8:00 pm, beginning August 28


It’s hard to resist watching adorable animal babies taking their first steps and experiencing other milestones. But this three-part series is not just cute; you’ll also learn a lot about the challenges young animals face in their first year of life on Earth.


Durrells in Corfu marathon

Begins 6:00 am on Saturday, August 31 on WTTW Prime


The final seasons of two much-loved Masterpiece series—The Durrells in Corfu and Poldark—are both coming this fall, at the end of September. So get your fill of them now! Over Labor Day weekend, you can catch up on all three previous seasons of The Durrells during a marathon on WTTW Prime. Sure, you might lose some sleep, but it’s a long weekend!

Meet the real-life people portrayed in The Durrells and read our recaps of the previous seasons.

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