Online giant Yahoo Inc. (YHOO) has hired a former ABC television programmer to head its media and entertainment division.

Lloyd Braun (search), who was behind shows such as "The Sopranos (search)" on HBO and "Lost" on ABC, will try to convince movie, TV and music companies to distribute more content exclusively on Yahoo, company officials said Monday.

Braun, 46, also will try to create original programming for the 90 million visitors a month to the company's Web sites.

Braun was ousted in April by the Walt Disney Co. (DIS) as chairman of the ABC Entertainment Television Group (search). He had clashed with Disney President Robert Iger over the direction and management of the network, which had fallen to fourth place in the ratings.

Braun, however, oversaw development of "Lost" and "Desperate Housewives (search)," which have become huge hits for ABC since he left.

Braun began talking with Yahoo in July and will join the company Nov. 15. He acknowledged knowing little about the Internet industry.

"It's probably both a blessing and a curse," he said. "I'm going to have to get my hands dirty from Day One in terms of learning the business, then smartly navigate the waters after that."

Braun, a lawyer, practiced entertainment law from 1985 to 1994 before joining Brillstein-Grey Entertainment, where he developed the concept for HBO's Emmy Award-winning drama "The Sopranos."

Braun's hire is Sunnyvale-based Yahoo's highest-profile move since hiring former Warner Bros. Chairman Terry Semel (search) in 2001 as chief executive.