Toby Gorman to Head Universal Television Alternative Studio

The veteran exec takes over as president of the studio from Meredith Ahr, who was upped to head unscripted at both the studio and at NBC.
Chris Haston/NBC
Toby Gorman

There's a new person at the top of Universal Television Alternative Studio.

Toby Gorman has been named president of the studio, which produces unscripted content for NBC and other outlets. He takes over for Meredith Ahr, who in late 2018 was upped to head NBC Entertainment's Alternative and Reality Group. Gorman will report to Ahr.

"We have an incredibly ambitious growth plan for Universal Television Alternative Studio, and Toby is exactly who we want at the helm during this defining time," Ahr said Thursday in a statement. "I have witnessed him in many roles over the years, and time and again he has proven to be a precise developer, a creative producer, and a sharp executive. As the breadth of our content and our partnerships throughout the industry continue to expand, Toby's deep expertise, coupled with the equally important fact that he is one of the most respected executives in the field, make him the perfect fit to lead the studio into its next chapter."

Gorman comes to Universal from production company Magical Elves (Top Chef, Project Runway), where he served as interim CEO for the past six months following the departure of founders Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz. (The company named Casey Kriley and Jo Sharon co-CEOs earlier on Thursday.) He also was president of A. Smith and Co. (The Titan Games, Brain Games).

Gorman was previously executive vp alternative programming at FremantleMedia North America, where he developed To Tell the Truth and Match Game for ABC. Prior to that, he was a co-executive producer and showrunner on NBC's Hollywood Game Night and The Winner Is.

Now in its third year, Universal Television Alternative Studio produces nine unscripted series for NBC, including World of Dance, Hollywood Game Night and the comedy competition Bring the Funny. The studio also is pushing into selling to cable and streaming outlets; its current off-network slate includes In Search Of (History) and reboots of The Biggest Loser (USA) and Blind Date (Bravo). Universal Television Alternative Studio also has more than 30 overall deals with producers.

NBC was the first broadcaster to open an in-house unscripted studio; Fox followed suit earlier this year.