ABC has inked reality vet Craig Armstrong to a rich two-year overall development and production deal.
Armstrong, most recently an exec producer on the Alphabet’s hit “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” will first serve as showrunner on the net’s upcoming “Supernanny.” He’ll create and develop other reality programming for ABC via his Stoney Brook Prods. shingle.
While overall deals are common for scribes, studios and networks make very few overall pacts with reality producers. At ABC only Michael Davies (“Wife Swap”) and Clay Newbill (“The Mole”) have such deals.
ABC alternative exec VP Andrea Wong said Armstrong’s work on “Home Edition” led the net to sign him to a deal.
“He has been terrific on that show, and we immediately saw that he had the same interest in doing shows along the lines of our brand,” Wong said, referring to ABC’s current crop of feel-good/wish fulfillment reality skeins. “He was a logical fit.”
Armstrong already has an on-air commitment from the Alphabet for an unscripted special, though the subject matter is top secret.
He’s also in the process of shooting and editing episodes of “Supernanny,” an adaptation of a U.K. format that comes from Ricochet Prods.
Armstrong said ABC’s current philosophy on reality matches his idea of where the genre should be heading right now.
“Reality is swamped right now with the back-stabbing, eye-gouging type of programming, which is fine. I don’t necessarily disapprove of that,” he said. “But I also believe there’s room in reality for more emotional, heart-tugging shows like ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’ and, hopefully, ‘Supernanny.’ That’s where I am right now as a producer.”
Armstrong describes himself as “a proud alumni” of the Mark Burnett school of reality, having worked as co-exec producer on four cycles of “Survivor” as well as “Combat Missions.” Before that, UTA-repped Armstrong was a comedy-focused producer, working on more than 300 short films for skeins such as “Mr. Show” and Jenny McCarthy’s MTV series.
Producer has also worked extensively with “Weird Al” Yankovic on musicvideos such as “Amish Paradise.”