In one of the first major talent deals following the sweeping leadership changes at Viacom’s cable networks, the company has re-upped one of the top unscripted producers on its roster, SallyAnn Salsano and her 495 Productions. This is Salsano’s seventh consecutive overall deal at Viacom, encompassing development for MTV, BET, VH1, Spike and CMT. The new pact with Salsano signals a continuation and underscores her importance to the company. After taking over VH1 as president, Chris McCarthy and his head of unscripted Nina L. Diaz — who now hold the same positions at both MTV and VH1 — teamed with Salsano for breakout Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party and have a slew of other projects in development with her.
Salsano and her 495, which is owned by FremantleMedia, are behind a string of hit series for several Viacom networks, from A Shot at Love at MTV a decade ago, though MTV mega hit Jersey Shore and its offshoots, Spike’s Tattoo Nightmares and Tattoo Nightmares Miami and CMT’s Party Down South to Salsano’s latest standout, VH1’s Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner, which was the highest-rated unscripted franchise launch on cable in 2016 and has been renewed for a second season.
“SallyAnn is a bona fide hitmaker who has an infectious passion and amazing feel for our brands and what it takes to break through culture to connect in big ways,” said Diaz, Head of Unscripted Programming for MTV and VH1. “MTV and VH1 have an unmatched legacy for turning the unscripted genre on its head, and we’re super excited to partner with SallyAnn to bring even more unique and bold new series to our audiences.”
Other series Salsano has worked on include Blue Collar Millionaires (CNBC), Mother/Daughter Experiment: Celebrity Edition, (Lifetime), Disaster Date (MTV), Tattoos After Dark (Oxygen), Repo Games (Spike), Tool Academy (VH1), Wedding Wars (VH1), HGTV’s Design Star, and Oxygen’s Dance Your Ass Off, among others. Additionally, the Jersey Shore format has been successful internationally with a number of local adaptations, including in the UK and Latin America.
“Viacom has been such a huge part of my life, both as a viewer growing up and as a producer over the past decade, so I am thrilled to renew this overall deal,” says Salsano, CEO and Founder of 495 Productions. “I remain grateful for the shared success of our past but I am already dreaming of the huge future that lies ahead. The new leadership at Viacom is like me: fearless, excited, fans of reality TV and pop culture, and I’m particularly excited to get back in it at MTV and work with Chris, Nina and their team get it rockin’.”