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EXCLUSIVE: The CW has seemingly found its unscripted chief.
Former NBCUniversal exec Heather Olander is on the verge of joining the broadcaster to oversee its unscripted programming, Deadline understands.
It comes after Deadline revealed that the Nexstar-owned company was in the hunt for an alternative chief to work alongside recently appointed President of Entertainment Brad Schwartz.
Olander, who could start as soon as next month, will have an interesting job on her hands as the network is set to increase the amount of unscripted content it airs as it looks to program more cost-effectively. Deadline understands that unscripted could make up more than 50% of its schedule going forward under its new owners.
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While The CW has long-aired series such as Penn & Teller: Fool Us, World’s Funniest Animals and Whose Line Is It Anyway? and moved into competition formats and panel shows with the likes of Would I Lie To You? and Killer Camp, it will grow this aggressively in lieu of expensive scripted orders.
The CW declined to comment.
Olander was previously EVP Alternative Development & Programming, USA, Syfy & Peacock and left at the end of 2020. She departed following a restructure at NBCU that saw it split its unscripted teams into two divisions, now headed by Corie Henson and Rod Aissa.
Olander joined USA Network in 2011, added Syfy to her unscripted/alternative oversight in 2014, and added unscripted development for streamer Peacock in late 2019.
She was responsible for building USA Network’s slate of non-scripted shows including Chrisley Knows Best, which was recently canceled after the stars went to jail for a litany of fraud charges, Miz and Mrs and Straight Up Steve Austin.
She also moved the cable network into entertainment formats with reboots of Temptation Island and The Biggest Loser, as well as competition series Cannonball, which aired on USA Network and NBC.
Before joining NBCUniversal, Olander was VP Original Series Development & Current Programming for CBS Television Distribution, where she developed alternative/unscripted formats for syndication, cable, and broadcast, and spent six years as VP Original Series Development and Current Programming at MTV.
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