CBS Entertainment is combining oversight of its alternative programming and specials departments, under the oversight of 22-year CBS veteran Jack Sussman, Realscreen has confirmed.
Sussman, most recently EVP of specials, music and live events, had held that position since 2006, and before that, was head of specials since 1998. While his position primarily incorporated such annual event programming as The Grammy Awards and The Tony Awards, certain unscripted live finales, such as Survivor and Big Brother, also fell under his remit. He will continue to oversee such event programming under his new post. In the past, unscripted specials had also served on occasion as backdoor pilots for alternative series at the network.
The move to combine the two departments follows the departure of former SVP of alternative programming, Sharon Vuong, in April. She later resurfaced at NBC as SVP of alternative programming and development.
Mitch Graham, previously VP of alternative programming, has been upped to SVP of the department, reporting to Sussman. He will continue to focus on CBS’ current slate of reality series and new development.
Graham joined the alternative department in 2013 as vice president. He oversees CBS’s reality slate, including Survivor, The Amazing Race, Big Brother, Love Island and Undercover Boss. He was also directly involved in the development of the network’s new summer series Game On! and Tough As Nails.
Two alternative programming VPs, Laura Silva and Chris Aagaard, will continue to report to Graham, while newly promoted manager, specials, Mackenzie Mitchell, will report to Sussman.
“Jack is simply one of the best, most experienced and most respected execs in the business, and we couldn’t be in better hands with him overseeing our amazing collection of world-class specials and alternative franchises,” said Kelly Kahl, president, CBS Entertainment, in a statement. “Mitch will continue to be the day-to-day point person on all things reality, as well as take on a larger leadership role in this newly combined department. This is an absolutely terrific team.”
Prior to joining CBS, Sussman held stints at MTV Latin America as head of programming, and VP of programming and production at VH1.
Deadline first reported the story.