CBS searches for its next 'Survivor'

The departure of CBS’ reality programming guru Ghen Maynard last week underscores the difficulty of finding another big-tent hit like Survivor. Not since ABC launched Dancing With the Stars waaaay back in 2005 has a network created a reality show that has finished the season in the top 10. “It’s a lot harder than it looks,” lamented one network insider. “All the genres are very familiar to audiences.” Maybe the networks are looking in the wrong place, suggests Mark Itkin, William Morris’ co-head of worldwide TV. “When naysayers question whether we’re tapped out, that’s a moment to start looking elsewhere.” Even if it’s thousands of miles away: Itkin is currently bullish on Japan, where he is about to close two deals on formats for American audiences and found the hilarious Human Tetris-like game show Hole in the Wall, which he sold to Fox (it bows next month). “Buyers have to be willing to take chances.”


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