EXCLUSIVE: Before Nexstar appointed former Pop TV boss Brad Schwartz as President of Entertainment at The CW earlier this month, there was much talk that the network would bulk up its unscripted slate.
The new owners have not shied away from their desire to find cheaper sources of programming and there was a suggestion that new CW president Dennis Miller was also looking for an unscripted exec to lead such a charge.
This search, Deadline understands, has now begun in earnest.
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We hear that Miller has begun drawing up a shortlist of candidates that he would like to hire following the appointment of Schwartz, who is best known for bringing Emmy-winning comedy series Schitt’s Creek to the U.S.
It’s very early days but it signals the importance of alternative programming to the network, which has dabbled in the genre successfully over the years, but never put it front and center of its schedule.
The CW has had long-runnig series such as Penn & Teller: Fool Us, World’s Funniest Animals and Whose Line Is It Anyway?, although the latter is expected to end with its upcoming twelfth season.
It has also moved into more competition formats and panel shows with the likes of Would I Lie To You?, a Robert and Michelle King-exec produced remake from Truly Original of the British format, and Killer Camp.
Schwartz and Miller both know the unscripted market well with the former having previously worked at MTV and the latter was formerly chairman of Industrial Media, the now-Sony owned production group behind series such as American Idol, Selena + Chef and 90 Day Fiancé.
Schwartz himself told Deadline in an interview after he was appointed that it intends to do unscripted programming as part of a mixed slate but doesn’t just want “copycat” shows.
“It’s harder and harder with how many billions of hours of content that are being made right now and billions of dollars that are being spent on content, to find unique things, to not just be a copycat, to not just do the same old competition show or the same old Housewives reality show. Those are all awesome and they kill it. But it’s going to take a lot of effort, a lot of creativity to find those things that are really different. And so at this point, talking to you now, my answer is, we definitely are going to do unscripted, it’s an area I’ve had success, but we got to figure out ways of doing things that you don’t find elsewhere,” he said.
The search for someone to find these nuggets is on.
The CW declined to comment.
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