Seven months after Dawn Olmstead became president of Universal Content Productions and Wilshire Studios, she is setting a new programming direction for the unscripted unit.
Wilshire Studios will be getting out of producing broad unscripted series and live events to focus on premium docuseries.
The studio’s live event programs — E! Live from the Red Carpet and E! People’s Choice Awards — will move to E!, whose live-events team will produce them from now on.
Wilshire Studios will complete production on the current seasons of its unscripted series True Hollywood Story (E!), DNA of Murder with Paul Holes (Oxygen), Straight Up Steve Austin (USA) and A Lie To Die For (Oxygen). Going forward, if the networks opt to renew these series, they will have to find new producing partners for them.
The idea behind the programming recalibration at Wilshire Studios is to make the company’s focus on premium series consistent across both the scripted (via UCP) and unscripted (via Wilshire Studios) divisions. For instance, companion docuseries to UCP’s well received scripted offerings based on true events, Dirty John and The Act, would have be the type of programming Wilshire Studios would be aiming at.
Wilshire Studios currently has approximately 20 employees, I hear the goal is to find place for many of them throughout NBCUniversal. Lisa Levenson, who joined Wilshire Studios as EVP, Development and Programming in October, left several months ago.
Wilshire Studios’ portfolio also has included such series as Netflix’s 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 recently canceled Busy Tonight on E!.