NBC has shored up its pipeline of reality programming just days before it is scheduled to unveil its fall-programming slate to kick off the annual broadcast-TV upfront.
The Comcast-owned network said it has signed production deals with Jason Ehrlich, a senior producer at ABC's "The Bachelor"; David A. Hurwitz, executive producer of "Fear Factor" in both its incarnations at NBC; Alex Katz, co-executive producer of "The Biggest Loser" since 2009; and Lee Metzger, a co-executive producer for the network's only true hit program, "The Voice."
The move reflects reality programming's importance to the NBC prime-time schedule. Each episode of "The Voice" and long-running series "The Biggest Loser" and "The Apprentice" takes up two hours, giving the programs an outsize presence compared with the Peacock's sitcoms and dramas. What's more, "The Voice," which has battled Fox's"American Idol" for the crown among viewers ages 18 to 49, is the costliest nonsports program on NBC for advertisers, according to Ad Age . A 30-second spot commands an average of $206,000.
With that in mind (and with both "Loser" and "Apprentice" getting long in the tooth) NBC may be looking to reassure both Hollywood and Madison Avenue that it remains committed to the reality genre.
The network previously signed development pacts with Jason Raff, executive producer of summertime series "America's Got Talent"; "Talent" judge Howie Mandel and his production company; Tom Shelly, a producer of NBC's "Love in The Wild"; and Craig Plestis, producer of NBC's "Minute to Win It."