Marriott Marquis | Washington, DC | Monday, January 23 – Thursday, January 26, 2017

Speaker Denise Contis


Denise Contis

EVP, Development & Production

Discovery Channel

Channel. As EVP, Contis oversees the series production and development offices with staff in New York, Los Angeles, Silver Spring and London. In this capacity, Contis helped lead the team that drove Discovery to 3 record-breaking quarters in 2015 including record breaking months in 2016. The Network is #1 in non-sports cable Network across M25-54 and M18-49. She also led growth in women viewership driving Discovery to crack the Top 10 in W25-54, up 6 spots YOY. Under her leadership, Discovery owns 9 of the top 10 unscripted series in cable.

Contis has leveraged her broad and wide- reaching experience to blend linear and mulit platform programming. She has created a New Media department with the goal of sourcing digital talent and content for play on linear. Contis has also launched an internal development think tank that has lead to the launch of several successful series including Diesel Brothers, the highest new series launch in 2015 and Treasure Quest which has a S2 order. Contis reports to Rich Ross, Group President of Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and Science Channel.

Contis oversaw the development and launch of hit series Naked and Afraid and its spinoff, Naked and Afraid: XL. The Emmy nominated Naked and Afraid franchise generated record ratings for the Network. Naked and Afraid: XL is cable’s #1 new unscripted series in 2015 and the 2nd highest new series launch in Discovery Channel’s history. She also reinvigorated the crime genre on the Network and launched the successful new series, Killing Fields that was Executive Produced by Barry Levinson and Tom Fontana.

Contis joined Discovery Channel as SVP Production and Development West Coast in 2012. Under her leadership, the team developed and launched a string of new hit series: Fast n’ Loud, Street Outlaws, Alaskan Bush People, Alaska the Last Frontier and Bering Sea Gold. Her Production team grew ratings for current programming including increasing Deadliest Catch double digits in its 11th season and growing Gold Rush S6 by 8%. Deadliest Catch garnered an Emmy win as outstanding unstructured reality program in 2014 and 2015. She was an Executive Producer with Robert Redford on the Emmy nominated documentary, All the Presidents Men: Revisited. Working in partnership with Programming, she developed and helped create a new night for Discovery Channel: Motor Mondays. In addition, she oversaw Skywire Live With Nik Wallenda that delivered 13 million total viewers for the walk and dominated cable as the #1 live event in 2013. She was part of the Emmy winning team who developed the interactive digital companion site for the event.

Contis originally joined Discovery Communications in 2008 as Vice President, Production and Development - West Coast at TLC. While at TLC, she served as Executive Producer on TLC’s Sarah Palin’s Alaska, the highest new series launch in the channel’s history and oversaw the refresh and resurgence of the TLC franchise, Say Yes To The Dress as well as What Not to Wear. She also redeveloped LA Ink to double digit rating increases and developed and launched the franchise series, Police Women.

Prior to joining Discovery, Contis worked as an LA based Executive Producer, Consultant and Director. She started her career at ABC supervising a daily, live series. She was recruited to join David Lynch and Mark Frost in their first non-scripted series for FOX, American Chronicles. She joined NBC News where she was part of the team tasked with leveraging news assets to create and launch hybrid non-scripted programming. She has served as Senior Vice President of Programming at A. Smith and Company, whose clients included FOX, ABC, CBS and FX. Contis also was the founder and CEO of TUK Media, a multi media company where clients included NBC, CBS, A&E, E and digital networks.

Contis studied literature with a creative writing emphasis at Loyola Marymount University where she received her Bachelor of Arts in English. She is a member of the DGA, PGA and is on the Executive Committee of the Academy of TV Arts and Sciences for reality programming. Contis is an Executive Mentor at Women in Film and is an Executive Mentor at Discovery Communications Contis is on the Board of Directors at NFF which funds research for women’s cancers. She grew up in Southern California and Latin America. Contis lives in Pacific Palisades, CA with her husband and son.

Speaking at: Building Brands

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