Exec to maintain relationship with network

Longtime CBS reality topper Ghen Maynard is out at the net.

Maynard’s departure ends weeks of rumors that the Eye net might be making a change with its alternative/unscripted team. Buzz that Maynard may be out grew even louder last week; the decision came late Friday night.

The exec will maintain a relationship with CBS, however: The net is converting his executive contract into a production and development deal.

Under the new terms, Maynard will hold a first-look pact at CBS and the CW, effective immediately.

CBS hasn’t named a replacement for Maynard, but said his position will be filled. Maynard oversaw reality programming for both the Eye and CW, and he’ll assist in both nets’ transition plans.

Maynard’s departure comes as CBS struggles to launch a new unscripted hit. The Eye still does well with “Survivor,” “The Amazing Race” and “Big Brother,” shows all developed under Maynard’s watch. But CBS’ more recent tries, including this summer’s “Greatest American Dog” and last year’s “Kid Nation,” failed to garner much interest.

CBS put a better face on the change: In a statement, CBS Paramount Network TV Entertainment Group prexy Nancy Tellem said the company’s desire to shake up the alternative department dovetailed with Maynard’s interest in becoming a producer.

“Ghen has talked with us about a desire to produce, and both of us thought the time was right to make a change in the alternative area, so this is an agreement that works for everyone,” Tellem said. “We have great admiration and appreciation for what Ghen has accomplished here. He has developed and launched several of the top reality franchises on television.”

Maynard was on his second tour of duty at CBS. The exec defected to NBC in 2004 to serve as executive VP of development at the Peacock under then-Entertainment prexy Kevin Reilly. After he lost that job in a 2006 NBC West Coast shakeup, Maynard hopped back to CBS.

Maynard has served as exec VP for alternative programming and new-media entertainment at the CBS Paramount Network TV Group since April 2006.

He first joined CBS in the late 1990s as a director of drama series development; he was a midlevel development exec when he took the pitch for “Survivor.” He convinced CBS brass to take a chance on the show and was rewarded when the show exploded into a major ratings winner in 2000. Maynard immediately took control of the new alternative programming division.

Besides the CBS reality trifecta of “Survivor,” “Brother” and “Race,” Maynard’s credits include developing “America’s Next Top Model” for UPN.

“I am extremely grateful to Les (Moonves), Nancy, Nina (Tassler) and Dawn (Ostroff) for all their support over the years, including beginning this next adventure in my life,” Maynard said. “Working with them and the entire CBS staff has been a collaboration that I value deeply.”

Among potential candidates to replace Maynard are his lieutenants: CBS alternative senior VP Chris Castallo and CW alternative senior VP Jennifer Bresnan.

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