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Piligian to head unscripted at Lionsgate

US studio Lionsgate has appointed Craig Piligian to the newly created role of president of non-fiction TV as part of a renewed deal with the reality veteran.

Craig Piligian

In his new role, Piligian will be responsible for overseeing Lionsgate’s unscripted television business, developing new non-fiction series and managing the company’s partnerships with unscripted television producers.

Piligian has also been elevated to chair of Pilgrim Media Group, the prodco he founded in which Lionsgate took an estimated US$200m stake in 2015.

The company’s slate includes The Ultimate Surfer (ABC), The Ultimate Fighter (ESPN+) and My Big Fat Fabulous Life (TLC), plus the Street Outlaws (Discovery) and Wicked Tuna (National Geographic) franchises.

Piligian started his career in the news business before going on to produce some of the first reality TVseries and was an original executive producer on the CBS show Survivor. In 1997, he founded Pilgrim Films & Television (now Pilgrim Media Group).

Lionsgate Television Group Chairman Kevin Beggs said: “Pilgrim is a powerhouse in unscripted content so we’re fortunate to have the experience and expertise of its leader as we continue to fill our non-fiction programming pipeline. We look forward to drawing upon Craig’s wealth of creative relationships in building our unscripted business alongside Pilgrim as a major player in the non-fiction space.”

Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer said: “Craig is a great partner, a savvy strategist and a leading creative force in the unscripted world. This is an opportunity to continue simplifying our business by bringing all of our unscripted operations together under Craig’s oversight while enabling him to continue overseeing Pilgrim’s world-class non-fiction brand.”

Meanwhile, Alice Dickens-Koblin, who was brought in to ramp up Lionsgate’s unscripted business, will continue in her role as Starz senior VP and head of unscripted television for the global premium streaming service.

She will also continue to lead Lionsgate’s 1619 Project unscripted content based on material from the Pulitzer Prize-winning 1619 Project, including the recently announced documentary series for Hulu to which Oprah Winfrey, The New York Times and Roger Ross Williams are attached.

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