Veteran reality TV executive Craig Plestis is teaming up with Endemol Shine North America, signing an overall deal with the studio to develop original unscripted series via his Smart Dog Media production company.
Plestis, who was behind such series as America’s Got Talent, The Biggest Loser and Deal or No Deal as the former head of unscripted at NBC, is set to launch his latest series The Masked Singer with ESNA on Fox in January.
“Craig has a remarkable track record in both identifying and developing unscripted hits and we’re thrilled he is now housed with our team at Endemol Shine North America,” said Sharon Levy, President, Unscripted & Scripted Television. “And his latest discovery, Masked Singer, is unlike anything we’ve seen here in the U.S. and is sure to make a lot of noise for Fox early next year.”
As the former EVP, Alternative Programming, Development and Specials at NBC, Plestis helped develop and launch such hits as America’s Got Talent, Deal or No Deal, The Biggest Loser, The Apprentice, Fear Factor, The Singing Bee, The Contender among others during his tenure at the network. He also oversaw production of the Golden Globe Awards.
After leaving NBC, Plestis launched his own production company, Smart Dog Media, an unscripted TV studio. Under the Smart Dog banner, Plestis has executive produced top series including Minute To Win It and The Winner Is for NBC. He also launched Robot Combat League for Syfy, the world’s first fighting robot competition series and he’s produced three series for The Food Network, including Chef Wanted.
“After meeting with Sharon and her team, it was clear to me that joining forces made a lot of sense given Endemol Shine’s global sensibility and reach,” said Plestis. “When I originally made Americas Got Talent at NBC, no one was doing variety and I was first to the field with the idea. Our joint goal is the same: to develop new and ground-breaking series and we can’t wait to share the trailblazing and worldwide hit series Masked Singer with American viewers.”
Plestis is repped by Paradigm.