Reality: New or Improved?

As reality programming continues to mesmerize viewers and hoard more networks’ sked space, what’s your best development strategy when it comes to non-scripted?

In this session, industry experts weigh in on the future of reality and identify where the best programming opps are – including an evaluation of the risk-and-reward reality of launching truly original fare, versus Canadian versions of tried, tested and true (and network-friendly) concepts.

Participating in the panel are:

Speakers: Moderator:
Joe Houlihan
Executive VP
of Programming
Cineflix Productions
Leslie Merklinger

Director of Original
Production Lifestyle
Shaw Media
John Brunton
President & CEO
Insight Production Company
Jennifer Dettman
Head of Factual
David Paperny
President & Executive Producer
Paperny Entertainment

Working across Canada, U.K., and the U.S., Cineflix executive VP of programming Joe Houlihan oversees the expansion of the entertainment and factual entertainment divisions. Houlihan currently works on a portfolio of more than 2,500 hours of programming, including My House, Your Money, Dinner Party Wars, In-Law Wedding Wars and Instant Cash.

Leslie Merklinger, the director of original production for Lifestyle at Shaw Media, oversees popular reality fare on Slice and Food Network such as Top Chef Canada, Recipe to Riches, Pitchin’ In, The Real Housewives of Vancouver, Eat St. and You Gotta Eat Here!

Insight Production Company president & CEO John Brunton is the go-to producer for making Canadian versions of international hits, such as Idol, Top Chef, Intervention and Project Runway. Brunton also creates formats, like the CBC’s Battle of the Blades, making him uniquely positioned to comment on reality’s future in Canada.

CBC head of factual Jennifer Dettman, responsible for overseeing the development, production and commissioning of reality programming, as well as the acquisition and adaptation of international formats for the CBC, has Battle of the Blades and Dragons Den on her list of credits.

David Paperny, of Paperny Entertainment, created hits like the CBC’s The Week the Women Went and Eat St., which airs on the Food Network in Canada and the Cooking Channel in the US.


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