Name: Douglas Ross
Who he is: Ross is the founder and president-CEO of independent TV production company Evolution Film & Tape. The company has three locations in the
Los Angeles area and 22 full-time staffers. His credits include TBS's home remodeling series "House Rules," NBC's "Fear Factor" and CBS's "Big Brother."
Where he's from: Ross began his television career in various roles with documentary makers. His early experiences include the award-winning doc "Choosing Victory," about wheelchair athletes at the 1984 Summer Olympics.
What he's done: Lowe's was a significant backer of "House Rules" and integration of the brand and the presence of a brand marketer voice in creative development was an adjustment, according to Ross. "It took the folks at Lowe's a while to get used to the notion that making a reality series is different than putting together a series of 60-second
commercials." Ross said it was an education process to get the brand to understand that the message is "garnered over the arc of an episode and even more over the arc of a series and that a show can't be scrutinized frame-by-frame." Lowe's was initially uncomfortable with some of the early episodes that showed the struggle and the difficulty that the
contestants were going through in the home renovation challenge. "In their commercials, [Lowe's] wants home renovation to be exciting and easy," said Ross. "You
have to see that this person over the course of 13 episodes succeeds and overcomes these difficulties and is victorious at the end."
What's next: "While formatted reality shows will always continue to be a facet of what's going on in reality, a lot of these manufactured situations are starting to play themselves out a little bit, and there will be a swing back to more documentary-style storytelling." That said, "The Mansion," a follow-up to "House Rules" on TBS, premieres in October and
has several brands that are funding and sponsoring the show with product integration.
Stock-in-trade: "The Evolution brand is one where all our shows have very high
production values, and we strive to always have heart and soul and… a positive message
woven through to the end."