ABC Family Recruits Kary McHoul to Oversee Reality

She joins the network after coming from Nigel Lythgoe Productions, where she helped develop 'American Idol.'

ABC Family is pushing into the unscripted arena in a major way, tapping an industry veteran to oversee reality for the network.

Kary McHoul has been tapped to serve in the newly created role of senior vp programming and development at ABC Family, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

McHoul joins the network after forming Nigel Lythgoe Productions, where she helped develop Fox reality juggernaut American Idol as well as The Simple Life With Paris Hilton and Hell's Kitchen. Reporting to newly installed exec vp development Karey Burke, McHoul also developed The Anna Nicole Smith Show for E!

"Kary is simply the best in the business. She has an incredible track record of creating, packaging and launching hit shows across genres and platforms," Burke said. "She knows how to capture an audience, and we are honored that she has chosen to lead our charge into unscripted series programming. I had the pleasure of working with Kary during her tenure at Fox, and am thrilled to be reunited with her here at ABC Family."

McHoul more recently served as a consultant for the Fine Brothers, a new media firm best known for React, and for DanceOn, the dancing-themed YouTube's channels co-founded by Madonna.

Before turning to digital, she served as president for Lythgoe's production company, where she had overall deals with 19 Entertainment and Shine America. Before that, she was president of Digital Rights Group North America, where she packaged formats and sold series for primetime, cable and syndication in foreign and domestic markets. Prior to that, McHoul built a nonscripted programming department at UTA. She's worked under Mike Darnell during his time at Fox and was the first head of development at E! and Style networks. She started her TV career as an intern at The Tonight Show With Jay Leno.

ABC Family, under network president Tom Ascheim, is making a renewed investment in the unscripted arena under. The exec in June picked up hidden-camera prank series Freak Out as one of his first orders of business. More recently, the cabler handed out a straight-to-series order for Ryan Seacrest-produced transgender docuseries My Transparent Life as well asJob or No Job. The move is part of a larger push to age-up the network, which is mulling a complete rebranding that could include a new name. Ascheim's plan is to shift ABC Family's viewership from teens to 20-somethings and their families.

McHoul becomes the latest addition at the network under Ascheim, who in October tapped Burke to oversee development and Nigel Cox-Hagan to head marketing.

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@THR.com
Twitter: @Snoodit

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