YouTube Taps Fox Veteran for Unscripted Role

Alex Piper -  YouTube Publicity-H 2019
Courtesy of YouTube

YouTube has found its new unscripted lead. 

The video streaming platform has tapped Fox veteran Alex Piper as head of unscripted for North and South America. He replaces Ben Relles, who has transitioned into a new position leading interactive programming at YouTube. 

Piper, who will report to global head of original content Susanne Daniels, is coming to YouTube as the streamer prioritizes unscripted programming amid a shift in strategy away from the big-budget scripted series that it had been buying up for subscription service YouTube Premium. Several scripted projects, including Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television and Champaign ILL, have been canceled in the strategy shift. With plans to focus on a slate that will be distributed across both its ad-supported and subscription offerings, YouTube is expected to place a greater emphasis on unscripted offerings. 

Daniels announced the hiring in a memo to staff on Monday morning, writing that "Alex is arriving at the perfect time as we are gearing up to build and announce a new slate of series and specials centered on music, edu-tainment, creators and some amazing lighthouse series that will reach a global audience via our new dual distribution strategy. 

In his new role, Piper will work with YouTube creators to develop and produce programming that spans the talk, action, romance, horror and sci-fi genres. He will also oversee all live entertainment events at YouTube and will work on both music and celebrity projects. 

"Alex Piper is a seasoned award-winning reality programming executive with amazing taste and strong relationships, who is incredibly well respected in the industry," Daniels said in a statement. "We are thrilled to have him join YouTube and bring his expertise to our diverse programming slate."

Prior to joining YouTube, Piper was vp alternative programming at Fox, where he led development on such series as So You Think You Can Dance, Hell's Kitchen, Cosmos and Teen Choice Awards. Before Fox, he was senior vp alternative television at Asylum Entertainment, where he launched and oversaw an unscripted slate that included ESPN's 30 for 30 and Addicted for TLC. He has also served as a producer for NBC Sports and NBC Olympics. 

YouTube's unscripted slate includes series What the Fit? with Kevin Hart and Escape the Night and event Will Smith: The Jump. It is also behind music projects Ariana Grande: Dangerous Woman Diaries and Demi Lovato: Simply Complicated

April 15, 9:10 a.m. Updated with Susanne Daniels' memo to staff.