The CW hires second NBCU alum to extend unscripted push

Fboy Island

The CW has hired former NBCUniversal exec Betsy Slenzak to work across its unscripted output.

Slenzak will develop and lead production on alternative reality, events and specials in her new role as VP of unscripted.

She reports into fellow NBCU alum Heather Olander, who became head of unscripted at the Nexstar Media Group-owned US network in February.

Betsy Slenzak

Her arrival follows the exit of former VP of alternative & digital, Kyle Zezo, who is moving into production.

Slenzak was most recently at NBCU Television and Streaming, working on reality and talent competition, as well as gameshow formats for Peacock and networks including NBC, Bravo, E! and USA.

Olander said Slenzak had “stellar relationships within the industry and a keen eye for developing successful unscripted formats.”

“Betsy has a proven track record of producing buzzworthy hits and we are fortunate to welcome her to The CW as we continue to evolve our unscripted programming slate,” Olander added.

Heather Olander

Slenzak’s appointment comes as The CW ramps up its shift towards unscripted, following its acquisition by Nexstar Media Group in October.

The firm closed a deal to take 75% ownership of the US broadcast network, with CEO and chairman Mark Pedowitz exiting and Dennis Miller stepping into the role of president.

While The CW had been known for its teen dramas like Riverdale and Nancy Drew and a slew of ‘Arrowverse‘ superhero shows, including The Flash and Legends Of Tomorrow, recent months have seen the cancellations of many of these scripted titles.

Nexstar is instead planning to populate The CW with “broader and cheaper programming”, signalling a push into more unscripted programming, which the two former NBCU execs will lead on. A new version of HBO Max show F-Boy Island is among shows in the works with The CW according to US reports, to be known as F-Girl Island.

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