Reality TV: THR's 50 Most Powerful List
After 10 years and 16 cycles, Karzen considers ABC’s The Bachelor her “first born,” raving about the longevity of the franchise like a proud mama bear. “When we first came on the air, girls were 10, and they’re now 20 and rediscovering the show,” says the Boston University theater graduate. And the numbers prove it as the dating series remains among the top 10 unscripted offerings in total viewers and all key women demographics.
Meanwhile, Bachelor spinoffs The Bachelorette — which will feature its first single-mother contestant — and Bachelor Pad will return to ABC later this year with additional cycles. While her first born is growing up nicely, the Kentucky-born and L.A.-raised Karzen is most proud of the success NBC has found with The Voice, having shepherded the singing competition to the air in a flash. “We got the ball and we knew exactly where to run, and we knew we needed to run fast and be on the air before [Fox’s] The X Factor,” she notes, recalling the initial pitch meeting where then-NBCUniversal executive vp alternative programming Paul Telegdy stopped Karzen midpitch.
The former classmate of Julianne Moore and Michael Chiklis remains mum on speculation that NBC will double-pump Voice, noting only that the series will return with its high-profile coaches. When not working in the reality world, Karzen, 51 — who has been with her partner, Leslye, for 21 years — is happy to be a “volleyball mom who has a really cool day job” to her 12-year-old daughter, saying with a laugh, “I’m a chauffeur on weekends.”