Craig Piligian on the Strengths of Lionsgate Alternative Television

Lionsgate earlier this year launched Lionsgate Alternative Television, combining its majority-owned unscripted television powerhouse Pilgrim Media Group with eOne’s unscripted groups in the U.S., U.K. and Canada, Blackfin, Renegade 83, Whizz Kid Entertainment and Daisybeck Studios. Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning producer Craig Piligian serves as managing director of the new division, which houses such successful franchises as Naked and AfraidEx on the BeachStreet Outlaws and MILF Manor. Piligian talks to TV Formats Weekly about the strengths of the new unit.

TV FORMATS: What led to the launch of Lionsgate Alternative Television?
PILIGIAN: As part of Lionsgate’s acquisition of eOne, we acquired Renegade 83, Blackfin, Whizz Kid Entertainment, Daisybeck Studios and the unscripted businesses of eOne in the U.S., U.K. and Canada. We then launched a new division in Lionsgate Alternative Television, which combines these leading non-scripted brands with Pilgrim Media Group to make us one of the largest players in the space. We kept the market-facing development labels of each company intact, with most of the production, postproduction and backroom operations integrating to work as one.

TV FORMATS: Tell us about the combination of non-scripted powerhouses all brought together under the new unit.
PILIGIAN: The collective strengths of each group make Lionsgate one of the largest independent unscripted production companies in the world. For example, under Geno McDermott’s leadership, Blackfin has been a key player in premium documentaries as the producer of the acclaimed limited series Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez. Meanwhile, David Garfinkle and Jay Renfroe have made Renegade 83 a leader in the survival space with the long-running franchise Naked and Afraid, now in its 17th season.

David and Jay serve as senior executives on our management team, and Geno is one of our creative officers, alongside Bob Kusbit for Renegade 83, Dirk Hoogstra for eOne U.S., Matt Pritchard and Matt Walton for eOne U.K., Malcolm Gerrie for Whizz Kid Entertainment, Tom Huffman for Pilgrim Media Group and Paul Stead for Daisybeck Studios. Their deep relationships with buyers are complemented by our top-tier leadership team, which includes president Gretchen Stockdale and executive VP Nicholas Caprio.

TV FORMATS: What are the opportunities you see in the current landscape for Lionsgate Alternative Television to capitalize on?
PILIGIAN: We can provide high-quality content at a competitive cost, so we’re uniquely positioned to navigate today’s dynamic television landscape. We’re also one of the few non-scripted production companies with the scale and expertise needed to produce content across nearly every non-scripted genre, including sports, documentary, historical, competition reality, true crime, family, game shows, dating and more.

TV FORMATS: As you assess the current landscape, what are the types of unscripted entertainment that seem to be working best?
PILIGIAN: Game shows, survival series, sports-adjacent and relationship shows are having the most success and generating the largest viewership. These shows can be made with financial discipline, but audiences find them highly entertaining and engaging.