USA Network taps Jessica Sebastian to head unscripted series

USA Network names Jessica Sebastian as head of unscripted programming

USA Network, intent on keeping its hand in the reality game, on Thursday named veteran reality producer Jessica Sebastian as its new vice president of unscripted series.

Sebastian, who most recently served as vice president of development at Ben Silverman's production company Electus, is charged with helping the network continue its efforts in the reality sphere following the recent departure of Heather Olander.

Olander was brought on in 2013 to lead the network, primarily known for dramas such as "Suits" and "White Collar," into the reality frontier. During her short time there, she scored them a breakout hit "Chrisley Knows Best," which was recently renewed for a third season.

Sebastian, who joined the network just before the holidays, takes on "Chrisley Knows Best" and will also shepherd USA's development slates as it looks to grow in the genre.

Sebastian has worked in reality TV for some time. At Electus she served as executive producer of such series as TLC's "Style By Jury" and Nat Geo's "Southern Justice," She has also worked on shows such as "Wife Swap" and "What Not to Wear."

The London native began her career in unscripted development at the production company Original Media. Additionally, she has served as senior director of development at the now-shuttered Style Network.

Sebastian reports to Jackie de Crinis, executive vice president of original programming.

“We are thrilled to add Jessica’s expertise in the unscripted space to our senior creative team at USA Network,” De Crinis said. “Her work as a producer, director, showrunner and creative executive brings a multifaceted perspective to our burgeoning efforts.”

While the network has pulled away from its push into the comedy arena to refocus on its drama slate -- it has three drama projects coming next year -- the network isn't ditching its dalliance with reality TV.

"I think on the reality side of things, if we find a project like 'Chrisley' that is a unique franchise, it'll be like, let's take a swing at it," USA President Chris McCumber told the Los Angeles Times in an interview in November.

Twitter: @villarrealy

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