After an extensive executive search that came down to a couple of high-profile candidates, former CBS head of alternative programming Chris Castallo has been named Head of Unscripted Television for Amazon Studios. He will oversee unscripted TV development, reporting to Albert Cheng and Vernon Sanders, Co-Heads of Television, Amazon Studios.
Castallo will fill the void left by the August ouster of former unscripted head Heather Schuster following an internal investigation.
Amazon Studios had limited presence in the unscripted space until the recent regime change at the company; its most recognizable title in the arena was The Grand Tour. Since Jennifer Salke took over as head of Amazon Studios, the company has made two high-profile deals in the alternative genre, picking up the Eco-Challenge reboot from Mark Burnett with host Bear Grylls and signing Project Runway stars Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn for a new fashion reality series. Castallo will be involved in Eco-Challenge 2019 and will spearhead development of the Klum/Gunn project.
Castallo recently was Head of Development for Verizon’s go90. Before that, he spent 10 years at CBS, rising to EVP Alternative Programming and head of the network’s’ alternative department. He oversaw CBS’ slate of Survivor, The Amazing Race, Big Brother and Undercover Boss as well as the Big Brother edition for CBS All Access. He shepherded several projects that went to series and also oversaw CBS’ The Case Of: JonBenét Ramsey limited docu series.
Castallo joined CBS in 2007 from NBC, where he was SVP Drama Development, overseeing development and production of such series as Heroes, Studio 60 and Kidnapped. Previously, he was SVP at Tollin/Robbins Prods, where he was involved in the development and production of Smallville, One Tree Hill and What I Like About You.