Eye net seeks alternatives in Maynard

Last of Big 4 to join red-hot genre

Now that CBS has joined the reality revolution, the web has tapped Ghen Maynard — who helped develop “Survivor” for the Eye — to lead its alternative nation.

Also, CBS on Wednesday announced the hiring of Eric Steinberg as vice president of television research.

Maynard’s appointment as VP of alternative programming makes CBS the last of the Big 4 nets to create a programming department to oversee the red-hot alt genre.

NBC recently named Curt Sharp to veepee of a new alternative department, while ABC and Fox have had alternative chiefs (Andrea Wong and Mike Darnell, respectively) for a number of years.

Maynard’s promotion, which has been in the works for weeks (Daily Variety, June 14), also comes on the heels of “Survivor’s” boffo bow at CBS. Maynard, who escalates from director of drama development, is also the Eye exec in charge of helping develop the U.S. version of “Big Brother.”

Maynard first brought “Survivor” to the attention of CBS Television topper Leslie Moonves.

“Ghen immediately saw what ‘Survivor’ could become and went to Les with it,” said “Survivor” exec producer Mark Burnett. “Ghen’s an avant-garde kind of guy who felt that it would be the first time an unscripted TV show could really become a drama.”

Maynard joined CBS in 1997 as a manager of drama development. He spent time as a post-production coordinator at ABC Prods. before that.

Meanwhile, in his new gig, Steinberg will be responsible for the Eye’s West Coast research functions, including program testing.

Steinberg joins CBS after an 11-year run at Paramount Television Group, most recently as VP of research. He started at Par in 1989 as a senior analyst, moving up to exec director of research in 1995 and VP in 1997. Before Par, Steinberg worked as an analyst at Gotham-based Petry Television.

(Josef Adalian contributed to this report.)

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