Reality TV: THR's 50 Most Powerful List
Coming up on its 21st cycle, The Amazing Race shows no signs of aging (up 10 percent in the advertiser-coveted adults 18-to-49 demographic), with Big Brother also posting gains year over year. “The franchises that we have on our roster, we hold that dear to our hearts,” says Bresnan, pointing to the importance of seven-time Emmy darling Race’s lower median age.
With Survivor holding its own against Fox’s The X Factor and Undercover Boss delivering solid returns in its new home on Fridays (tops in total viewers, 18-49 and 25-54), both series were among CBS’ early pickups. Inspired by the real people depicted on Boss, the L.A.-based exec, whose business trips tend to focus on Race and Survivor locations, greenlighted an adaptation of Israeli unscripted series 3, pushing the first-place network into the dating-show genre.
“What’s missing in the dating genre is a depiction of what it’s really like out there,” she says of the series revolving around three women on a journey for love. “It’s not about if they find a perfect man, which I think is a dated concept.”
An alum of USC (she studied broadcast journalism), Bresnan’s hit lineup means she can be incredibly picky when greenlighting a new project, like Mark Burnett and Michael Davies’ dream-job contest effort, The Job, just ordered to series for CBS. “When Michael came in with a project and we decided to pair him with Mark, we thought, ‘What a perfect union,’ ” she says. “We’ve set the bar really high.”