The reality vets received major promotions to their current positions in October. Both producers’ shingles — 51 Minds and Original Media, respectively — had resided under the Endemol umbrella for years, and when David Goldberg stepped down as CEO of the studio in 2012, the company looked to its own stables for new leadership. Abrego helped pioneer the celebreality genre seen most notably on VH1, launching franchises including “Rock of Love,” “Flavor of Love” and “The Surreal Life.” Corwin’s resume includes the “Miami Ink” franchise, “Storm Chasers” and “The Rachel Zoe Project.” The pair hopes to expand the “Big Brother” shingle’s presence across digital platforms. Yet, even with their heavy duty titles and expansive responsibilities, they will not lose their “creative DNA” as producers, per Abrego. “That’s what makes Endemol so great,” the co-CEO says. “They embrace people who create content.”
Host, “Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown”
Anthony Bourdain has brought his signature, subversive humor to CNN, after an almost decade-long tenure with Travel Channel — one that boasted food-centric series “No Reservations” and “The Layover” — came to a close this year. The chef and bestselling author’s latest docuseries “Parts Unknown” captures the travelogue feel of Bourdain’s past reality programs, but with glossier production value. After an April debut, the solid performance of “Parts” has already led to two season renewals under Jeff Zucker’s eye at a revamped CNN. Bourdain’s reach in the unscripted space also spans into broadcast, where the TV personality serves as a judge on ABC’s cooking competition series “The Taste.”
Television agent, CAA
Representing many of the leading reality TV production companies, creators and exec producers, Braun has handled some of the most buzzed-about shows in the genre. He sold “Duck Dynasty” (1) to A&E for Gurney Prods. (the show’s fourth-season bow in August drew 11.8 million viewers, making it the most-watched nonfiction show in cable history), and he also sold “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” and “Toddlers & Tiaras” to TLC for Authentic Entertainment. Braun, who joined CAA in 2009, also has packaged deals for Profiles Television Prods. (“The Amazing Race”), Fly on the Wall Entertainment (“Big Brother”) and Ryan Seacrest Prods. (“Keeping Up With the Kardashians”).
<p>President-CEO, ITV Studios U.S. Group and managing director, ITV Studios Intl.</p>
<p>Buccieri’s expanded role at ITV has him leading the company’s newly formed U.S. Group, which consists of ITV Studios America and recently acquired Gurney Prods., High Noon Entertainment and Thinkfactory Media. Buccieri served as prexy-CEO of ITV Studios America for four years and also oversaw the purchase of the three unscripted shingles. The ITV Studios U.S. Group slate includes “Hell’s Kitchen” and “Kitchen Nightmares” (Fox), “Duck Dynasty” (A&E) and “Four Weddings” (TLC).</p>
“America’s Got Talent” host, Ncredible Entertainment founder
Nick Cannon has come a long way since his days as a star on Nickelodeon’s “All That” and spinoff “The Nick Cannon Show.” While judges have rotated in and out of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” Cannon has remained firmly seated as host and lively emcee of the tentpole competition series since 2009. Meanwhile, on cable, MTV2 revived Cannon’s improv comedy series “Wild ’n Out,”(2)which initially ran on MTV for four seasons. The fifth run of “Wild,” now hailing from Cannon and his manager Michael Goldman’s shingle Ncredible Entertainment, ranks as MTV2’s highest-rated series in network history and was recently renewed for a sixth season. Ncredible holds a first-look deal with NBC.
Host, “Big Brother”
“Big Brother” made waves this summer as multiple houseguests let their racist, sexist and homophobic flags fly — and Chen was there to grill them as they left the domicile. Chen, who has a news background, pulled no punches as she confronted Aaryn Grimes about her inhouse comments, and then later told the press that often racists aren’t “shamed into behaving properly.” Chen also landed at the center of a race controversy when she unapologetically confessed on her daytime show “The Talk” to having plastic surgery on her eyes after a news director suggested she’d never advance in the business otherwise.
Andy Cohen and Jerry Leo
Exec veep, development and talent, Bravo Media
-Exec veep, program strategy and acquisitions, Bravo and Oxygen Media
The public and highly telegentic face of the cabler that reality built, Cohen pioneered the “aftertalkshow,” mostly at first with guests from the “Real Housewives” franchise and other celebs (dubbed “Bravolebrities”) from the cabler’s stable of shows. Now on five nights a week, “Watch What Happens Live”(1) has blossomed into must-see TV for pop culture aficionados. Obsessed with TV, Leo has guided the upscale cabler’s programming into create a unified brand that hits its demographic and the advertisers looking to reach them. Now Leo has a chance to work more magic on Oxygen.
Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz
Founders, Magical Elves
The Magical Elves team brought its elevated taste to Dick Wolf’s true crime tales with “Cold Justice” for TNT, the cabler’s first foray into unscripted. It was a risk for Cutforth and Lipsitz as well, since they built the shingle on food and fashion, but it paid off with strong ratings and a second season ordered. The pair is still behind Bravo’s tasty “Top Chef” franchise, and the duo’s move into feature docs is also a gamble that worked. Having success in the past with “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never” and “Katy Perry: Part of Me,” their directorial debut, Cutforth and Lipsitz are now behind doc “EDC 2013: You Are the Headliner,” about the Electric Daisy Carnival phenomenon. The shingle’s digital-only offerings are aimed at building new brands or extending existing franchises, such as the Emmy-winning “Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen” and “Padma’s Picks.”
President, T Group Productions
Under Daly’s leadership, T Group has been an active player in reality, selling more than a dozen pilots and series in the past year, including “House of Food” to MTV, “Secret Celebrity” to Oxygen and “Alaska Gold Diggers” to Animal Planet — each adding to the company’s tally of nearly 30 series, pilots and pickups during the past three years. The Santa Monica-based shingle has $40 million in yearly turnover and nearly 400 freelancers supporting the shows. Before launching T Group, Daly was development veep for E! and an exec producer.
President, Embassy Row
Call Davies king of the meta-show: The longtime exec producer of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” has emerged in recent years as an expert in TV shows about TV shows, as his Sony-owned Embassy Row production company created AMC’s “Talking Dead,” Discovery’s “Shark After Dark” and Bravo’s “Watch What Happens Live,” among others, all of which seem to duplicate an online chatroom atmosphere for fans to gather, grouse and giggle. And it works: “Shark” brought in 2.1 million viewers to help boost Discovery to its highest Shark Week viewership in 26 years in August, while “Talking Dead” out-delivered HBO’s “Game of Thrones” premiere in April with 5.2 million viewers.
Rebecca Toth Diefenbach and Valerie Haselton
Principals, Sirens Media
Launched by Diefenbach and Haselton in 2005, Sirens has been a prolific producer of unscripted, reality and documentary programming. “The Real Housewives of New Jersey,” a hit for the firm and for Bravo, is in its sixth season, and the cabler is set to premiere “Thicker Than Water” in November. Other credits include “Modern Dads” (3) and “Panic 9-1-1” for A&E, “Philly Throttle” for Discovery, “Strange Sex” for TLC and several shows for Discovery ID. Sirens, which was acquired this year by Brent Montgomery’s Leftfield Entertainment, has projects in development at A&E, Animal Planet, CMT, Food Network and the Weather Channel.
Star/exec producer, “Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory” and “Ridiculousness”
Dyrdek has become a staple on MTV’s lineup. The decorated athlete joined the Viacom family in 2006 with docucomedy “Rob & Big,” which ran for three seasons on MTV. From there, Dyrdek planted flags on the net with “Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory” and viral video yakker “Ridiculousness,” while further establishing his brand with appearances on MTV’s “Punk’d,” “Cribs,” “Nitro Circus” and “MTV’s Ultimate Parkour Challenge.” “Ridiculousness” (4) is entering its fourth season on MTV, while “Fantasy Factory” is heading towards its sixth and final run on the net. Both hail from Dyrdek’s shingle Superjacket Prods. and are seated comfortably with reruns on MTV2, drawing young male auds to the sibling cabler. Though “Fantasy Factory” is poised to shut down, Dyrdek has already set a new show at MTV, with cooking competition “Snackdown” slated to join the cabler’s afternoon lineup.
Tom Forman and Nev Schulman
CEO, Relativity Television
Exec Producer, “Catfish”
Forman and Schulman have helped launch a household word: “catfishing,” or deceiving someone online when it comes to one’s true identity. Buoyed in part by last winter’s buzzed-about Manti Te’o scandal, MTV’s “Catfish” (1) — hailing from Forman’s Relativity TV and hosted by Schulman — is now a cultural phenomenon. Based on Schulman’s indie doc of the same name, docuseries “Catfish” has been parodied since its 2012 debut and referenced by major news nets with Schulman doing rounds on the press circuit during the Te’o debacle. The show has become one of MTV’s most notable reality series since “Jersey Shore,” but, more importantly, the program has captured the zeitgeist of this supersaturated digital age.
Scott and Deirdre Gurney
Founders/Exec Producers, Gurney Prods.
When the Gurneys launched a “docu-comedy” show about a family of heavily bearded Louisianans with a decoy company in 2012, many thought they’d quacked up. Fast-forward a little more than a year and A&E’s “Duck Dynasty” is swimming in nearly 12 million viewers per episode, with an August season premiere that was the No. 1 program on all of TV that week. It’s not all about hearing the duck call for them: The Gurneys are also behind Discovery’s Shark Week and series like “Auction Hunters” and “Haunted Collector,” a slate that made them worth $40 million to ITV, to whom they sold a controlling stake in the company in 2012.
Founder, Nerdist Industries
Calling yourself a nerd wasn’t necessarily hip in 2010 when comedian Hardwick started up “The Nerdist” podcast, but three years and an average of 4.8 million downloads per month later, it’s not only great to be a geek — it’s profitable. Hardwick runs a website, a premium YouTube channel with more than 670,000 subscribers, a daily e-newsletter and the podcast network, while drawing 2 million Twitter followers. Plus, he brought in solid ratings as host for AMC’s “Talking Bad” (4.4 million following the “Breaking Bad” series finale in September) and “Talking Dead” (5.1 million for the October premiere of “The Walking Dead”). The two shows are noteworthy hybrids that bridge talk with being a reality-based companion piece to scripted series. Nerds never had it so cool.
General manager, Shed Media U.S.
Green means go, and moving forward is precisely what Shed Media’s Stateside arm has been up to under Healey’s direction. Overall, Shed is responsible for 13 series across eight networks. The company has greenlit six new series so far this year, including “Eric & Jessie: Game On” for E!, Bravo’s “Game of Crowns” and unannounced series at VH1 and HLN. In addition, 11 pilots and presentations are in the pipeline. With more than 200 employees, the company delivered 135 hours of finished programs in 2012 and is on track to hit triple digits again this year. Healey also exec produces Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of New York City” (5), which is set for a season six bow in the first quarter of 2014, and several other shows.
Ryan Hayden and Feroz Taj
“Pawn Stars,” History’s top-rated series, is in the midst of a multiyear, 80-episode pickup — one of the largest and most lucrative in the unscripted space — that was negotiated with Hayden and Taj representing the cast. Additional deals for the show’s talent have landed tie-ins with a range of companies including Bally’s, Ford, Subway and TurboTax. There’s even a Rick Harrison-branded Micro Touch One razor. Through early October, “Pawn Stars” was averaging 2.0 million viewers among adults 25-54 and 4.6 million total viewers year to date in the U.S., and is also seen in more than 150 other countries.
Eli Holzman and Stephen Lambert
President, All3 Media America
Chairman, All3 Media America
The duo were tapped to head All3Media America in December and wasted no time digging in, with 12 series in production across the group’s subsidiaries, keeping its 300 employees busy. While its big gamble with NBC on “Million Second Quiz” didn’t pay off as hoped, “Undercover Boss” (6) is still a big franchise for CBS and TNT has ordered “Inside Job” from the duo. Parent company CEO Farah Ramzan Golant has targeted the U.S. as the biggest growth area for the conglom, and Holzman and Lambert are great for the bottom line.
Exec veep, original series, Spike TV
Levy left behind PR jobs at Comedy Central and Sci Fi (now Syfy) to shift into programming, and has been coming up with gems since she started at Spike in 2005. Surprise: The ladies have come with her. Thanks to her unscripted fare (“Tattoo Nation,” “Bar Rescue”), young women are starting to tune into the traditionally macho network (51% of “Tattoo Nightmares’” viewers are 18-34 female, 47% of “Ink Master” are also women). Coming soon: “To Catch a Contractor” with Adam Carolla, who polls well with women. It’s a canny strategy; a gender-balanced audience helps the network fend off male-dominated fare from History and Discovery.
Partner and board member, ICM Partners
Overseeing the talent and literary agency’s international television department, Lipstone has packaged several unscripted skeins including “Dancing With the Stars” for ABC, “Hell’s Kitchen” and “Kitchen Nightmares” for Fox, and this summer’s “Million Second Quiz” for NBC. Not limiting himself to TV, he also represents clients in movies, publishing, music, theater, branded entertainment and digital media. Lipstone is a third-generation family member working in the entertainment business, and joined ICM in 2005 after more than 20 years at William Morris.
Head of alternative and international TV, APA
A seven-year veteran of the agency after 10-plus years at UTA, Meyer has boosted APA into a significant role in the reality sector. Shows that he and his team have played a key role in include “Betty White’s Off Their Rockers” for NBC, “Wild Things With Dominic Monaghan” for BBC America and “Dance Moms” for Lifetime.
Exec producer, “The Voice”
NBC’s singing competition show has been a formidable ratings-grabber since its launch in 2011. But its biggest win this year was the reality competition Emmy over such heavyweights as “The Amazing Race” and the nine-time nominated “American Idol.” A veteran of MTV, Morrissey is continually challenged to keep the show fresh, and her music biz savvy helps nab top musical guest stars and creates unique opportunities for the judges to perform. It all adds up to social media buzz and iTunes sales.
Chairman, Bunim/Murray Prods.
With more than two decades of unscripted experience under his belt, Murray is showing no signs of slowing down. Through his shingle Bunim-Murray Prods., which the vet founded with the late Mary-Ellis Bunim in 1987, Murray has launched groundbreaking reality programs including these franchises: MTV’s “Real World,” E!’s “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” and Oxygen’s “Bad Girls Club.” In addition to those backbone unscripted series on cable net lineups, Murray’s current crop of shows includes “Best Ink,” “Total Divas” and “Project Runway.” A bonafide hitmaker, Murray continues to be at the forefront of numerous reality TV trends (house reality, celeb-reality, tattoo, and more), and remains a respected go-to for buyers throughout the cable landscape.
Group president of Discovery Channel, TLC, Discovery Fit and Health
Unscripted vet O’Neill is a genre magician, having breathed new life into staid doc channels. The latest rabbits from her hat include such live events as “Skywire Live With Nik Wallenda,” which drew 13 million viewers and 1 million Twitter mentions, and meta shows like “Shark After Dark,” which goosed ratings for Discovery’s perennial Shark Week. She’s even made the old-fashioned survival show genre more daring, with “Naked and Afraid,” (key word: naked) which premiered to 4.16 million viewers, beating such broadcast shows as “60 Minutes.” Love her for “Honey Boo Boo” or not, there’s no question: O’Neill casts a spell.
Exec veep of digital production and programming, Chernin Group
A reality TV show without television? It’s a risky concept, but, for Parks, launching an unscripted series on social media sites was an opportunity to connect with teen demos like never before. His innovative series “@SummerBreak” bowed on platforms including YouTube, Instagram and Twitter in June, flaunting the sudsy docudrama aesthetic that MTV pioneered with programs like “Laguna Beach.” Backed by AT&T, “@SummerBreak” accrued more than 15 million views, 130,000 Twitter followers and 83,000 YouTube subscribers, who kept track of a group of teens enjoying their final summer in L.A. before heading to college. Parks hopes to continue exploring unscripted narratives in the digital space and is eyeing a second season for “@SummerBreak.”
Perry’s latest packaging coup is outta this world. NBC bought “Space Race” with Virgin Galactic, run by Perry client Richard Branson and Mark Burnett. Perry packages and clients pepper primetime, including “MasterChef” and “Junior MasterChef,” “Kitchen Nightmares” (1) (all on Fox), “Newlyweds” (Bravo), “Hardcore Pawn” (TruTV’s No. 1 show) and the upcoming “Trust Me I’m a Game Show Host” (TBS). But perhaps his hottest clients right now are the Robertson clan of “Duck Dynasty,” a massive hit on A&E. Perry re-negotiated the clan’s deal, including a 60-episode commitment, while also handling the merchandise, tours, personal appearances and the Christmas album.
“MasterChef” host and president, One Potato Two Potato
Ramsay is a force to be reckoned with, both in the kitchen and on primetime lineups. The chef and brash TV personality has five shows set up at Fox: “Hell’s Kitchen,” which has been renewed through its 13th season; “MasterChef,” which has been renewed through its sixth; “Kitchen Nightmares,” which wrapped season five; “Hotel Hell,” which wrapped season one; and “MasterChef Junior,” which recently bowed on the broadcast network. While Ramsay is known for his acerbic tone with contestants on his adult cooking competitions, “MasterChef Junior” has allowed Ramsay to expand his brand beyond expletives and toward a more nurturing role as a mentor to aspiring tyke chefs. His shingle, One Potato Two Potato, produces “Hotel Hell,” “Food Court Wars” and (with Shine America) the “MasterChef” franchise, and has numerous fresh Ramsay projects cooking in the oven.
CEO, 495 Prods.
Salsano has proven she is no one-hit wonder. Since the sun set on her MTV phenomenon “Jersey Shore” last year, Salsano continues to launch unscripted programs in the cable space across a broad range of genres. “Tattoo Nightmares” adds to Spike TV’s lineup, with Oxygen signing up for its own ink with “Tattoo After Dark” from Salsano’s 495 Prods. She has also rolled out MTV series from “Jersey Shore” talent including “Snooki & Jwoww” (3), “The Pauly D Project” and “The Show With Vinny.” Other current programs hailing from the reality queen include Syfy’s “Fangasm,” MTV’s “Friendzone,” and CMT’s “Party Down South.”
CEO and co-founder, Vice Media
Smith made global headlines when he and NBA great Dennis Rodman visited famously anti-American North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for some basketball diplomacy. The trip was filmed for the Emmy-nominated HBO documentary series, “Vice” (2), the latest project from Vice Media, Smith’s streetwise, testosterone-fueled, multiplatform brand that prides itself on telling insane, uncomfortable and sometimes raunchy stories. Smith, a tattooed, punk-rock-loving Canadian living in Brooklyn, calls Vice Media the “Time Warner of the street.” What began in 1994 as a small Montreal-based magazine founded by Smith and two friends has NBA-style bounce. Forbes estimates Smith’s net worth at $400 million.
President, Esquire Network
Award-winning marketing expert Stotsky is walking on debonair as president of the swanky new net aimed at upscale men who want to dress dapper, dine fine, and five-star-stay. Expanding the iconic “Esquire” magazine brand meant developing male-centric content with sophistication and surprise, like style guide “How I Rock It,” after-hours chef throw-down “Knife Fight,” or endurance racer tracker “Boundless” (4).NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment Group chair Bonnie Hammer lauded Stotsky’s “hard work and strategic vision” in bringing the net to life. He had been president of marketing for the NBC Entertainment division and in senior marketing positions at NBCU’s Syfy.