EXCLUSIVE: Rob Smith, Endemol Shine USA’s Head of Unscripted, is leaving after a total of 15 years at the company and predecessor Endemol USA. Smith, a respected unscripted development executive, will depart at the end of the year.
“The timing was right for me to move on,” Smith said. “Fifteen years is a long time, and I’ve been approached with some intriguing new opportunities. It was a hard decision, but something I’ve been thinking about for a while. We’ve been lucky enough to have a tremendous run of success. I am enormously grateful to Endemol Shine North America CEO Cris Abrego and everyone at Endemol Shine, and I am especially thankful to those talented individuals I’ve worked alongside over the years, from our network partners to executive producers to PAs to make such memorable television together.”
Smith’s departure follows the appointment in August of former Spike TV head of programming Sharon Levy as President of Unscripted and Scripted Television for Endemol Shine North America, with Smith and Endemol Shine Studios head Sharon Hall reporting to her. Levy, who is in the process of putting her stamp on the company, is expected to hire a replacement for Smith.
Smith started at Endemol USA in 2002 and oversaw both development and programming for the company, with a resume that includes launching the unscripted hits Deal or No Deal, the Emmy-winning Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, and Wipeout. He also oversaw Endemol’s foray into first-run syndication, with the launch of the Emmy-winning Steve Harvey. As he transitioned to Endemol Shone following the companies’ merger, Smith was instrumental in the reboot of Fear Factor for MTV, where it has been renewed for a second season, new music competition series Best. Cover. Ever. for YouTube, Pitbull’s New Year’s Eve Revolution for Fox, Hunted for CBS and the sale of new syndicated series Page Six TV.
“Rob has helped launch and oversee production on some of the most popular unscripted shows of the last decade,” Abrego said. “It has been a real pleasure working with him and I’ll certainly miss his creativity and work ethic. I understand his desire to pursue new challenges and wish him all the best.”
Prior to joining Endemol USA in 2002, Smith worked for Telepictures, serving as a supervising producer for the syndicated news magazine EXTRA.