TruTV Aims Diversify Its Reality Lineup

Exec movements and departures arrive after Chris Linn took on oversight of the net earlier this year

TruTV upped key executives this week, as newly-instated network prez Chris Linn begins to make his mark on the Turner-owned cabler and its lineup of unscripted programs.

Marissa Ronca has been promoted to senior veep of development and original programming, and Michael Lanzillotta has been upped to senior v.p. and general manager of the net. Both are based in Gotham and have been with the net since its Court TV days. Pair will report to Linn.

Darren Campo and Adam Dolgins, who were key programming execs during Marc Juris’ run as president of TruTV, are exiting the network along with Mary Corigliano, who headed brand strategy and digital development.

In an internal memo acquired by Variety, Linn told staffers that “a search is underway for a senior executive to head up our brand strategy and digital content/multi-platform development teams,” but that for now, the teams will report to Linn. The prez will be holding a town hall meeting in the net’s Gotham offices next week to address questions and concerns over the trajectory of the net.

Linn formerly ran MTV’s unscripted arm, and was appointed to the top programming post at TruTV in May after Juris was shown the door upon his contract expiration. During a phone call with Variety, Linn stated that his impression of TruTV before joining the cabler was “that it had loud and comedic content” that offers “a great adrenaline rush” to auds, with shows including “Hardcore Pawn,” “Lizard Lick Towing” and “Storage Hunters.”

However, the topper was concerned about the sustainability of such an outrageous content filter, and stated that he is working with the development and programming teams to “diversify the content and find different levels” of tone and noise. He also is striving to break TruTV out of certain subgenres of reality TV programming, which he finds to be both too familiar to TruTV, and too familiar to competitors’ lineups — including the pawn, towing and storage space.

“To me, it begins to feel repetitive,” Linn explained. “Going forward, docuseries will continue to be a significant portion of our portfolio, but I want to explore new subcultures, new characters, new areas.”

Linn is eying more comedic shows, since “Impractical Jokers” has fared well on the net.

Overall, Linn is enthusiastic about holding the reigns at TruTV. The MTV alum noted that “there are a limited number of experiences and shows that relate to the 18-24 demo,” which was his designated age group to program towards at MTV.

With a broader targeted demo at TruTV, the exec stated in his staff memo, “We are in the midst of some exciting times for TruTV.”

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