CNBC Installs Discovery Vet Denise Contis As Primetime Boss

CNBC has a new head of primetime programming: Denise Contis, who spent nearly a decade at Discovery.

Contis will have the title of EVP and Head of Content for Primetime. Christian Barcellos held the post on an interim basis and will stay on as SVP of Development & Production for the network’s primetime slate.

Contis will report to CNBC Chairman Mark Hoffman and report to the New York office on Tuesday. Hoffman informed the staff of the change in a memo on Monday. (Read it below.)

CNBC, whose daytime mission is to capture financial market movement as it happens, shifts gears in primetime. It has developed a small portfolio of unscripted shows connected with its overall business focus, both acquired staples like Shark Tank and originals like The Profit and the recently premiered Cash Pad.

Contis brings significant experience handling unscripted franchises. From 2008 to 2017, she held a range of positions at Discovery, exiting as Senior EVP of Development & Production, overseeing delivery of more than 500 hours of shows including Gold Rush, Deadliest Catch, and Naked and Afraid. Before Discovery, Contis was SVP of Programming for A. Smith and Company, launched her own company, TUK Media, and consulted on programming for Lifetime. Since leaving Discovery, she has been a consultant and adviser to a range of clients including venture capital and private equity firms.

Here is the full text of Hoffman’s internal memo:

I am very pleased to announce that Denise Contis will join CNBC as Executive Vice President and Head of Content for Primetime, reporting to me.  In this role, Denise will be responsible for CNBC’s primetime content, production and development.

A sincere thank you to Christian Barcellos for his leadership and support throughout these past few months.

Denise has a demonstrated track record of building global brands and franchise hits.  She spent many years at Discovery Communications holding a number of leadership positions from 2008 to 2017.  Most recently, Denise served as Senior Executive Vice President of Development & Production for the US & UK managing the delivery of 500+ hours of original programming annually including such hits as Gold Rush, Deadliest Catch, Fast N’ Loud, Alaskan Bush People, Street Outlaws, Diesel Brothers, and the Emmy-nominated Naked and Afraid franchise which broke network records.  Denise first joined Discovery Communications in 2008 as Vice President, Production and Development, West Coast for TLC where she developed and oversaw Sarah Palin’s Alaska, which was the most-watched show in the network’s history.

Prior to Discovery Communications, Denise served as Senior Vice President, Programming for A. Smith and Company, launched her own media company TUK Media, and was a programming consultant for Lifetime.

Since leaving Discovery in 2017, Denise has been advising and consulting broadcast and digital media companies on all aspects of content/branding including business strategy and marketing.  She also provided market insights and recommendations to private equity and venture capital firms as they considered various investment and M&A opportunities.

Denise is a four-time Emmy nominee, a recipient of a Gracie Award from the Alliance for Women in Media and recognized by Cablefax as one of the most powerful women in cable.  She holds a bachelor’s degree from Loyola Marymount University.  Denise will currently divide her time between New York and Los Angeles where she resides.

Denise will be in the New York office tomorrow and will start immediately.

Please join me in welcoming Denise to CNBC.


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