The CW Taps Heather Olander as Head of Unscripted Programming

Heather Olander
Heather Olander (Image credit: The CW)

The CW, now controlled by Nexstar Media Group, said it hired NBCUniversal executive Heather Olander as head of unscripted programming, a new post at the network.

Unscripted programming will be a key for The CW as Nexstar looks to turn the network profitable by 2025 in part by ridding its schedule of expensive dramas aimed at younger viewers and loading up on alternative reality series, events and specials.

“As we reimagine our programming strategy, we are truly fortunate to have Heather Olander leading the unscripted team at The CW,” Brad Schwartz, president of Entertainment for The CW Network, said. “Heather is an industry dynamo with a stellar reputation for discovering talent and cultivating relationships with content producers. With her boundless creativity, I’m confident we’ll develop innovative nonfiction series for The CW Network that catalyzes conversations.”

Olander had been executive VP, alternative development and programming for NBCU’s Peacock, USA Network and Syfy. She joined NBCU in 2011 as senior VP of alternative programming for Syfy. Earlier, she was a VP at MTV.

She was responsible for shows including Chrisley Knows Best, the reboot of Temptation Island, Miz & Mrs. and Straight Up Steve Austin.

“I’m incredibly honored to join Brad and the team at this exciting time of transformation for The CW,” Olander said. “I’m looking forward to developing a fresh slate of nonscripted programming and collaborating with nonscripted producers on new innovative and creative content that can break through and resonate with viewers.” ■

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.