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ABC’s John Saade fired, the third broadcast reality exec to leave this summer

John Saade was fired as ABC’s reality executive on Friday, becoming the third broadcast network reality TV executive to leave their job this summer. He’ll reportedly be replaced by former E! entertainment president Lisa Berger, who gave us shows such as Keeping Up With The Kardashians.

Saade developed Shark Tank and fought for it during its touch-and-go early seasons, and also supported shows such as Whodunnit, which “is a blow” to its chances for a second season.

As he left, he wrote this to his staff:

“I’ve always said that the eventuality of getting fired is the price to be paid for a job as great as the one I was granted here, and who wouldn’t go through this punch for Dancing (especially after the reboot Monday night), and Shark Tank, Wipeout, JKL, Bachelor, and all the other brilliant beacons and misguided messes, relishing the chaotic creative process, with producers as close as family, fostering fearlessness, fighting, respecting and persevering every day with friends and colleagues and heroes like Jimmy Kimmel. But most of all, everything we do starts and ends with team and trust, and I was able to spend part of every work day with (in geographical order) Mark, Tim, Corie, Sarba, Joey, Rob, Michelle, DM, Monica, Asta, Chelsey, Danielle, and Mitch — I’d be misting up as I type your names, if I misted.

Under the stress and pace of the job, I sincerely apologize for any rude behavior. It wasn’t called for, and don’t hold it against me when we work together in the future. Because I am genuinely excited by what’s next. I know this bruise will heal, the inevitable jabs will be forgotten, and 13+ years of ABC memories and relationships will remain.”

First, mad props to Saade not just for giving us Shark Tank and taking some creative risks (Glass House, Whodunnit), but also just for owning being fired rather than, say, pretending he was pursuing other opportunities.

Saade’s departure follows the exit of CBS’ Jen Bresnan, who only had one hit show during her tenure and left in August, and Fox’s Mike Darnell, who left after 19 years of broadcasting a range of reality TV, from forgotten crap to the biggest series of the decade, American Idol.

That leaves only NBC’s Paul Telegdy as a broadcast network reality executive who just bombed with Million Second Quiz. He’s tried to spin it by saying the show is “viral”, but he also has The Voice.

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  • Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means.


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