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Reality TV: THR's 50 Most Powerful List

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    Dirk Hoogstra
    Dirk Hoogstra
    Senior vp development and programming, History and H2

    How do you maintain a streak when you’re coming off your best ratings year ever? “We’re constantly pushing ourselves to innovate,” says Hoogstra, who was promoted in March 2011 to head development and programming strategy at History and H2. “We do an enormous amount of internal development, and that keeps us from fishing in the same pond as everyone else.”

    PHOTOS: THR's 2012 Reality Power List

    Still, Hoogstra knows that continued momentum at History — which had its best year ever in 2011, the latest in five consecutive years of ratings growth — will “be a challenge, but we’re doing it on a volume of franchise hits.” Those include Pawn Stars (5.7 million viewers) and spinoff Cajun Pawn Stars (3.2 million), as well as American Pickers (5 million) and American Restoration (2.3 million). “We look for programs that feel unexpected for us,” he says.

    COMPLETE LIST: THR's 2012 Reality Power List

    The married father of two, 40, is mum on what those are, a precaution in the derivative world of unscripted television, but points to Top Shot, History’s hit sharpshooting competition series, as one successful swing for the fences.

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