Major changes are afoot at Wilshire Studios, the unscripted programming producer for Universal Content Productions.
Variety has learned that the unscripted studio will no longer develop more general unscripted programming, instead focusing on premium docu-series. In addition, Wilshire Studios will no longer produce the live events “E! Live from the Red Carpet” and the People’s Choice Awards, which began airing on E! in 2018. Those projects will now be produced by E!’s live events team.
Wilshire Studios currently employs approximately 20 people. The exact fate of those employees is unknown at this time, though an individual with knowledge of the situation said NBCU will look to place them in other areas of the company.
Wilshire Studios is currently producing a number of unscripted projects, including “Straight Up with Steve Austin” for USA Network, “True Hollywood Story” for E!, and the Oxygen true crime shows “DNA of Murder with Paul Holes” and “A Lie to Die For.” All of those projects will continue on as scheduled. Other projects Wilshire Studios has produced include “Mysteries & Scandals,” “The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell,” and “Unspeakable Crime: The Killing of Jessica Chambers.”
Dawn Olmstead was named the sole head of Universal Content Productions (formerly Universal Cable Productions) and Wilshire Studios back in October under NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment chief Bonnie Hammer. Olmstead took over both divisions after George Cheeks was elevated to the role of co-head of NBC Entertainment along with Paul Telegdy following the departure of longtime NBC boss Bob Greenblatt.
Olmstead will now be focusing on growing UCP’s scripted roster, which includes the recent critically-acclaimed Hulu drama “The Act” and Amazon’s “Homecoming.”