reality TV reviews and news

The reality shows CBS’ new president watches and loves

CBS Entertainment President Glenn Geller (Photo by Sonja Flemming/CBS)

CBS’ new entertainment president, Glenn Geller, is a fan of reality television—and not just CBS’ marquee shows—who wants to find the network a new reality hit.

Geller replaces longtime executive Nina Tassler, who announced her exit yesterday and who previously praised Survivor and defended Big Brother.

Geller told Variety:

“I want to find the next drama hit. I want to find the comedy hit. I want to find the next reality hit. We have great shows on our air. But we need another Big Bang Theory or NCIS or The Good Wife. We need the next Survivor. I’m personally really invested in reality. I’ve watched Survivor since day one before I ever started at CBS. I’ve never missed a season of Big Brother. I think it would be great to find a new reality hit for us.”

Never missed a season of Survivor or Big Brother! That is impressive, and more than I can say, at least for the latter show.

What I found most interesting, though, was what he told TV Insider about the television he watches:

“In terms of reality, I have never missed a season of Big Brother and I’ve watched Survivor from the beginning, even before I joined CBS. I watch all the Real Housewives shows. I really enjoyed Celebrity Family Feud this year. I like to sample a lot of things, and my tastes are wide and varied. I want to find a reality show that would really speak to our audience, something that has the kind of spirit of The Amazing Race but also speaks to our core viewers. We’re really good at putting on procedurals. So I’d like to find something that feels like a good fit, with energy, taste and suspense but also in that reality framework.”

All The Real Housewives! All of them! That is, again, far more than I watch or could handle. Network television has for so long avoided the narrative, soap opera-  or documentary-style reality TV show that thrives on cable. Will Geller encourage his reality team to think outside the formatted network box to find something like a Housewives?

As to his goal of finding something similar to procedurals that has “energy, taste, and suspense”—hmm. What about reviving and reworking Whodunnit? Or finding a new angle for The Quest that emphasizes suspense? Or perhaps something that doesn’t involve an already existing ABC property that the network is unlikely to relinquish?

All of this is very encouraging, both his support for and love of CBS’ stalwarts (which I also hope will come with a mandate to make them better, and by “them” I mean Big Brother) and his appreciation for other kinds of unscripted shows.