A week after Dawn Olmstead was named President, Universal Cable Productions and Wilshire Studios, she is making a key hire on the unscripted side of the studio.
Lisa Levenson, most recently SVP, Alternative Programming at Fox Broadcasting Co., has been appointed EVP, Development and Programming, Wilshire Studios. She will oversee development and programming for the unit, reporting to Olmstead. This is a new position at Wilshire as the studio is looking to expand its output. Wilshire’s development most recently was shepherded by SVP Development BJ Levin who left over the summer to focus on producing.
Most recently, Levinson was SVP, Alternative Programming, at Fox, which will be undergoing a transformation after the Disney-Fox deal. She joined the network in January 2014, brought in by former head of alternative Simon Andreae. There she helped oversee such series as Hell’s Kitchen, Master Chef, Beat Shazam, and American Grit, live event The Passion and the New Year’s Eve franchise.
Previously, Levinson served as producer for 13 years. “Lisa provided the creative spine for The Bachelor and The Bachelorette,” Olmstead said In a memo announcing Levinson’s hire today (you can read it in full under the story). “A pioneer in unscripted programming, she has created and overseen multiple landmark series and specials. Notably, she was instrumental in creating the soap opera elements of The Bachelor and the storytelling and gameplay that elevated Big Brother.”
Levinson’s resume also includes stints as EVP of Programming and Development at Cineflix Productions, the producer of American Pickers and Property Brothers and as producer on The Jerry Springer Show and General Hospital, earning two Daytime Emmy awards.
Wilshire Studios has deals with Errol Morris, Amy Ziering, Marc Smerling and Joe Berlinger. It is behind the Netflix series The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell, Oxygen’s reboot of Mysteries and Scandals hosted by Soledad O’Brien and Unspeakable Crime: The Killing of Jessica Chambers, and the upcoming Busy Tonight on E!.
Here is Olmstead’s email:
Please join me in welcoming Lisa Levenson to the Wilshire Studios family. In her new role Lisa will serve as Executive Vice President, Development and Programming, Wilshire Studios.
Lisa is an award-winning television producer and executive. A pioneer in unscripted programming, she has created and overseen multiple landmark series and specials. Notably, she was instrumental in creating the soap opera elements of “The Bachelor” and the storytelling and gameplay that elevated “Big Brother.”
Most recently, Lisa was Senior Vice President, Alternative Programming, at Fox. There her department oversaw several successful series such as “Hell’s Kitchen,” “Master Chef” and “Beat Shazam,” and major television events including “The Passion” and Fox’s New Year’s Eve franchise with Pitbull. Lisa also oversaw new additions to feel-good reality including “American Grit” with John Cena.
Previously, as an executive producer for 13 seasons, Lisa provided the creative spine for “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette.” Later she was the EVP of Programming and Development at Cineflix Productions, the producer of “American Pickers” and “Property Brothers.”
After majoring in radio, television and film at the University of Texas, Lisa’s first break was as a producer on “The Jerry Springer Show.” She then moved on to “General Hospital” where her work earned her two Daytime Emmy Awards.
A musical theater buff, Lisa lives in Los Angeles with her husband who also works in reality television. Even though she’s worked with Gordon Ramsay for nearly 15 years, Lisa prefers a good pizza to a Michelin-starred restaurant.
Welcome to the team, Lisa!