Gabriella Messina, longtime television executive and acting VP of unscripted development and production for U.S. cable net Up TV, passed away unexpectedly last week, the network has announced.
The Atlanta-based network, which specializes in family-friendly programming, said in a statement issued this week that Messina had a significant role in its most successful reality property to date, the Figure 8 Films-produced Bringing Up Bates, and was most recently working on an upcoming Up original series, The Holderness Family (w/t).
“All of us at Up are working with heavy hearts over the loss of our colleague and friend, Gabriella Messina,” said Amy Winter, Up EVP and GM, in a statement. “She was a committed, outstanding executive whose extraordinary creative abilities resulted in several noteworthy productions including our own Bringing Up Bates. What we will miss most is her warm spirit, engaging personality and extreme generosity with her time and energy. We extend our deepest sympathy to her family and friends.”
Prior to Up, Messina had served as a VP of content and programming at Turner Broadcasting, working with its health and wellness multi-platform brand upwave. She had also served as head of original programming at Veria Living Network, and held positions with Scripps Networks Interactive, including executive producer of digital video programming, and director of original programming for HGTV.
She had worked with HBO as a supervising producer in the late 1990s, and began her career with a stint at ABC news magazine show 20/20, where over a decade she ascended the career ladder from production assistant to award-winning producer.
News regarding a cause of death was not available at press time.