Piper takes over the job at YouTube from Ben Relles, who moved into a new role as YouTube’s head of innovation, overseeing interactive programming. Both Piper and Relles report to Susanne Daniels, global head of original content at YouTube.
At YouTube, Piper will lead all efforts with creators to develop and produce unscripted programming spanning formats and genres, including, talk, action, romance, horror and sci-fi. He will oversee all live entertainment events for YouTube. Piper’s focus also includes music and celebrity projects, working in conjunction with YouTube’s partnerships and music teams.
He joins YouTube from Fox where he most recently served as VP of alternative entertainment where he led development for a myriad of special events and series including “So You Think You Can Dance,” “Hell’s Kitchen,” “Cosmos,” “The Four,” “Teen Choice Awards,” and “The 67th Emmy Awards.”
Prior to joining Fox, Piper was SVP, alternative television for Asylum Entertainment, where he helped develop, launch and oversee the company’s unscripted slate. In this role, he executive-produced numerous series, including “30 for 30” for ESPN, “Being Mike Tyson” for Fox, “The Locator” for WE tv, and “Addicted” for TLC. Piper also served as supervising producer on ABC’s medical docu-series “Hopkins” and was a producer for NBC Sports and NBC Olympics, receiving six Emmy Awards for Olympic and other sports events coverage.
“Alex Piper is a seasoned, award-winning reality programming executive with amazing taste and strong relationships who is incredibly well respected in the industry,” Daniels said in announcing his hire. “We are thrilled to have him join YouTube and bring his expertise to our diverse programming slate.”
YouTube’s unscripted roster has included “What the Fit?” with Kevin Hart, “Escape the Night,” and “Will Smith: The Jump” as well as music docus-eries and live specials including “Ariana Grande: Dangerous Woman Diaries,” “Demi Lovato: Simply Complicated,” and “Katy Perry: Witness World Wide.”
YouTube’s overall slate is focused on programming built around music, education, and YouTube creators, according to Daniels. YouTube has canceled several scripted shows recently while keeping a few tentpoles. Jon Wax remains head of scripted for YouTube Originals, after joining the team in 2017; he previously was head of scripted programming for WGN America and Tribune Studios.
YouTube says it plans to unveil new and returning scripted and unscripted series May 2 at its Brandcast event in New York City. Last year, YouTube Originals generated 1.5 billion views across 50-plus scripted and unscripted shows, according to the company.
Read Daniels’ memo to YouTube staffers announcing Piper’s hire:
Good morning team,
Reaching out with some exciting news to share: Alex Piper is joining YouTube Originals today as our head of unscripted (North & South America). He is a well-respected, seasoned reality programming executive with amazing taste and strong industry relationships. He joins us from Fox where he most recently served as Vice President of Alternative Entertainment where he led development for a myriad of special events and series including “So You Think You Can Dance,” “Hells Kitchen,” “Cosmos,” “The Four,” “Teen Choice Awards,” and “The 67th Emmy Awards.” He joins my senior team which includes Jon Wax, our head of scripted programming; Nadine Zylstra, who leads our unscripted edu-tainment vertical; Ben Relles, our head of innovation; Kim Rach, our head of production; Danny Zaccagnino, our head of talent; Bryan Yee, our head of strategy; Derek Reynolds, our head of BA; and our head of brand partnerships Marc Weinhouse.
Alex is arriving at the perfect time as we are gearing up to build and announce a new slate of series and specials centered on music, edu-tainment, creators and some amazing lighthouse series that will reach a global audience via our new dual distribution strategy.
This year is off to a terrific start: “What the Fit,” “Wayne,” “Weird City,” “Step Up,” “BookTube,” “Band Together,” “If I Could Tell You Just One Thing,” and “The Boy Band Con: The Lou Pearlman Story” launched to great numbers and critical acclaim. Production is nicely underway on new seasons of “Impulse,” “Liza on Demand,” and “Escape the Night,” as well as dozens of new projects and specials, several of which we will announce in a few weeks at Brandcast. If you wander to the back of the hanger, you’ll see construction is well underway for our soundstages. And of course, we are only a few weeks away from the highly anticipated return of “Cobra Kai.”
Please take a moment today to welcome Alex (who sits in the office next to mine) and please know that your hard work and boundless creativity are coming together and making a positive impact on YouTube!