Network promotes reality guru to executive VP

NBC is upping reality czar Craig Plestis — the suit behind hits such as “Deal or No Deal” and “The Biggest Loser” — to exec VP.

Promotion means that all Big Four broadcast nets now have reality chiefs at the exec VP level, a further sign that unscripted programming has become just as important to webs as scripted comedies and dramas.

Plestis, who reports to NBC Entertainment prexy Kevin Reilly, has run the Peacock’s alternative department since 2004, having risen through the ranks at the network’s on-air promotions division. In addition to “Deal” and “Loser,” he’s helped develop NBC reality success stories such as “The Apprentice,” “America’s Got Talent,” “Last Comic Standing” and “1 vs. 100.”

In June 2006 he added West Coast specials to his portfolio, taking over the net’s broadcast of the Golden Globes.

“Craig is a tireless idea guy, which is what it takes in the nonstop, competitive world of reality programming,” Reilly said. “He’s done a great job in creating our alternative programming department.”

NBC has a busy slate of alternative fare in the works.

In addition to returning summer skeins, Plestis is prepping for the launch of unscripted laffer “Thank God You’re Here” and the debut of a new reality skein based on the feature “Wedding Crashers.” Net is also working on the untitled Victoria Beckham half-hour.

Plestis first hooked up with NBC in 1997, serving as a freelance scribe-producer. That led to a gig as a senior writer-producer for the NBC Agency, where he rose to the rank of veepee, on-air promotions.

Before NBC, he worked on promotion efforts for UPN via a job at Notorious Pictures.

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