Ahr’s exit comes a little over two months after the exit of NBC Entertainment head Paul Telegdy. Ahr was named president of the Alternative and Reality Group back in 2018. In that role, she oversaw all aspects of unscripted programming at the broadcast network, Universal Television Alternative Studio, and first-run syndication. She became president of Universal Television Alternative Studio in 2016 to launch and build the studio.
The network and producer ITV Entertainment have started preproduction work at a Las Vegas resort, where cast and crew can be inside a bubble — a la the NBA in Orlando — during filming. The goal is to have the show back on the air by the end of summer.
There is one corner of television in which the pantry is relatively well-stocked: basic-cable reality shows, the cozy feeling in TV form. Variety spoke to representatives from more than a dozen cablers about their upcoming programming, and found that by premiering new shows as usual while also making use of old inventory, top-tier networks such as HGTV, TLC, Bravo, ID, Food Network, Discovery, We TV, E!, History, and A&E would fare a months-long production shutdown practically unscathed.
Reality television has been around since the dawn of the medium, as popular radio shows such as This Is Your Life, Candid Microphone and The Original Amateur Hour made their way onto the box in the 1950s. Today, in what’s been called the era of “peak TV,” the genre remains popular and profitable. According to Nielsen, it accounts for half of all programming on broadcast and cable, and it generates $6 billion in annual revenue. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t widely misunderstood.
During the recent reality television boom, small-time producers that were once “the Rodney Dangerfields” of Hollywood sold their companies for hundreds of millions. Now many are looking for second acts, and for Pawn Stars creator Brent Montgomery, that involves a high-stakes “VC to TV” business, Jimmy Kimmel and an invite-only L.A. “incubator” (just don’t call it a party house).
Two months into the new television season, there’s big ratings news: The N.F.L. is back! Then there’s … everything else. Viewership for entertainment programming on the broadcast networks continues to fall as audiences flock to streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon; Dick Wolf proves he still has the ratings touch; audiences rediscover the medical drama; and a new front in the latenight wars has opened between Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon.
One of the most influential players in unscripted television just got a much bigger gig. Meredith Ahr, the head of Universal Television Alternative Studio, has been promoted to now oversee unscripted output at the broadcast network as well. She fills the vacancy left by her longtime boss Paul Telegdy, who was elevated to co-chairman of NBC at the top of the fall season.
The Broadcast Television Journalists Association and NPACT, the trade organization serving producers of nonfiction entertainment content, will spin off the “reality show” category of the Critics’ Choice Awards into its own standalone show, the groups announced Friday. The inaugural Critics’ Choice Real TV Awards are set for Sunday, June 2, 2019, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles prosecutors have charged reality TV star Farrah Abraham with two misdemeanor charges over a scuffle with a Beverly Hills hotel security guard last month. Los Angeles district attorney’s spokesman Ricardo Santiago said Monday that Abraham has been charged with misdemeanor battery and resisting, delaying or obstructing a peace office. […]
The TV personality and former NFL player, alongside producing partner Constance Schwartz-Morini, will develop projects with the company.
The company will reach that milestone this weekend if its projections are correct. Netflix made the prediction Monday with the release of its first-quarter earnings. The service added nearly 5 million subscribers during the first three months of the year, and will end March with 98.7 million customers in roughly 190 countries.
The streamer already has upended the original series, stand-up and film businesses; now, with a key new hire and a lofty budget, it’s taking on unscripted. Warns one producer, “These guys are monsters — they’re coming in to play and play hard.”
In the crowded peak TV era, the biggest unscripted trend is packing the smallest talent. With NBC’s Little Big Shots becoming the first real hit since The Voice debuted in 2011, reality television has finally found another niche: kid competition series are the new singing competition — at least in terms of ratings.
Meredith Ahr also extends her contract, serving as president of the new in-house initiative that will supply unscripted fare to NBC and other outlets.
Telemundo today announced the appointment of Mauricio Piccone as SVP of reality programming. Based in Miami, Piccone will work along Maria Lopez-Alvarez, SVP of reality programming, and both will report to Jesus Torres Viera, Telemundo’s EVP of programming and content. In his role, Piccone is responsible for supervising in-house and external reality productions in the […]
The reality show, beginning its 16th year on the air, has managed to keep drawing a steady number of viewers, even as its contemporaries have faded.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Two cast members and the production company of the Discovery Channel reality show “Alaska: The Last Frontier” have been charged with using a helicopter for a black bear hunt. A former production company employee tipped troopers off about the illegal hunt, Alaska State Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters told the Alaska Dispatch News […]
Studios, stations and distributors are wondering whether network TV’s and cable’s successes with reality TV the past decade may be worth tapping into for broadcast syndication. Panelists see some possible success scenarios, but seem to think reality TV’s influence on daytime TV will be limited.
Numerous reality-based networks are sporting new stripes in the form of scripted fare as they move to stretch their brand and freshen their look. Not only does scripted represent a promised land for boosting audience interest, it’s also bursting with creativity at a moment when reality is, by comparison, “a little bit dull, a little bit stagnant,” says truTV’s president and programming boss, Chris Linn.
Today, CNBC premieres Treasure Detectives and The Car Chasers in primetime. Some 7 to 10 nonfiction series are being developed for the evening hours when the Wall Street ticker goes quiet.