CNBC plans reality series amid layoffs


Alex Weprin of reports that CNBC is planning up to seven new reality-based shows as it lays off employees in its documentary unit.

Weprin writes, “Among the series in development: ‘Fakes & Forgeries’ from Endemol USA, which follows a team of investigators who determine whether artwork is real or forged. ‘Franchised,’ a competition show in which every week one contestant will win their own business franchise. ‘American Steel,’ which follows the world of ‘competitive car flipping.’ The other shows are ‘Flipping Wars: Vegas,’ ‘At Your Service,’ ‘Outstanding!’ and ‘Venture Men.’ All of the titles are working titles.

“CNBC has traditionally focused much of its programming efforts on dayside, using its primetime real estate for reruns and, more recently, original documentaries. The reality shows in development are the first step in moving toward a more entertainment-focused primetime. While the shows may be a little more generalist, each retains some sort of business angle, to stay on-brand. ‘Franchised’ also bears a striking similarity to ‘Undercover Boss’ spinoff ‘Be the Boss,’ which has been picked up by A&E.

“As CNBC adds to its primetime reality lineup, it is also subtracting employees. TVNewser hears that the network has laid off a handful of employees in its long-form documentary unit as it shifts its focus to reality TV and acquired shows in primetime. CNBC will continue to air docs, produced both in-house and from outside companies. CNN had similar layoffs back in March, as it also shifted toward a model with more long-form programming produced from outside the company.”

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