The CW has confirmed Deadline’s scoop that Heather Olander is joining the network as its new unscripted chief.
We revealed last month that former NBCUniversal exec Olander was joining the network and she will lead development and production across all alternative series and specials.
As Head of Unscripted Programming, Olander has been tasked with developing “innovative” non-fiction series that “catalyze conversations,” according to her new boss Brad Schwartz, President of Entertainment for The CW Network.
“As we re-imagine our programming strategy, we are truly fortunate to have Heather Olander leading the unscripted team at The CW,” he said. “Heather is an industry dynamo with a stellar reputation for discovering talent and cultivating relationships with content producers. With her boundless creativity, I’m confident we’ll develop innovative nonfiction series for The CW Network that catalyze conversations.”
It’s a good job too, as Deadline understands that unscripted programming could make up more than 50% of The CW’s upcoming slate following its sale to Nexstar.
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“I’m incredibly honored to join Brad and the team at this exciting time of transformation for The CW,” commented Olander. “I’m looking forward to developing a fresh slate of non-scripted programming and collaborating with non-scripted producers on new innovative and creative content that can break through and resonate with viewers.”
Olander was previously EVP Alternative Development & Programming for USA, Syfy & Peacock and left at the end of 2020. She departed following a restructure at NBCU that saw it split its unscripted teams into two divisions, now headed by Corie Henson and Rod Aissa.
Olander joined USA Network in 2011, added Syfy to her unscripted/alternative oversight in 2014 and added unscripted development for streamer Peacock in late 2019.
She was responsible for building USA Network’s slate of non-scripted shows including Chrisley Knows Best, which recently was canceled after the stars went to jail for a litany of fraud charges, Miz and Mrs and Straight Up Steve Austin.
She also moved the cable network into entertainment formats with reboots of Temptation Island and The Biggest Loser, as well as competition series Cannonball, which aired on USA Network and NBC.
Before joining NBCUniversal, Olander was VP Original Series Development & Current Programming for CBS Television Distribution, where she developed alternative/unscripted formats for syndication, cable, and broadcast, and spent six years as VP Original Series Development and Current Programming at MTV.
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