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CBS has named a new reality chief.
Hours after Jennifer Bresnan announced her departure, the network has promoted Chris Castallo to executive vp alternative programming. In his new role, he will oversee all nonscripted series programming and report to entertainment president Nina Tassler. Castallo was senior vp of the division.
“Chris is a skilled executive who thinks like a programmer, producer and promoter all at once,” said Tassler in a statement announcing the news Thursday, adding: “He’s a terrific combination of a hands-on executive with a great vision for the genre, and we look forward to his leadership in this area.”
Castallo will lead the network’s development of new alternative shows, whether they are game shows, reality or nonscripted, as well as oversee the network’s current slate of veteran fare, including Survivor, The Amazing Race and Big Brother. At summer’s end, Catallo’s predecessor will relocate to New York, where Bresnan’s husband, CBS Corp. COO Joe Ianniello, and family live. She’ll continue to consult on the network’s reality shows.
He steps up at a particularly challenged time for the network reality business, as evidence by the genre’s lack of new hits. While broadcast continues to take shots with big, shiny floor programming, the bulk of the genre’s buzz of late has come out of cable, where ratings expectation are considerably lower.
Before CBS, which he joined in 2007, Castallo was a senior vp development at NBC, where he oversaw development and production of such scripted dramas as Heroes, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and Kidnapped. Before that, he worked at Tollin/Robbins Productions, where he was involved in the development and production of Smallville and One Tree Hill.
It’s worth noting that rival Fox still is without a reality chief, a position that’s been left open since veteran unscripted executive Mike Darnell departed earlier this summer. Fox entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly noted during his turn before the Television Critics Association press tour that the network likely would name a replacement within the month.
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