Ghen Maynard was named by TV Guide “one of the bold ones” in television.
Convinced he had a way to draw younger viewers to the network without alienating its then older core, Ghen developed and championed what would become the first broadcast-TV reality show, the mega-hit Survivor. Passed on by all other networks, Survivor not only brought unprecedented mass young viewers to CBS but also changed the face and economics of TV, inspiring less costly yet highly successful reality TV programming that is ever-present in television programming today.
Most recently, he was Senior Executive Vice President of the alternative programs studio for CBS. In this post Ghen sold four straight-to-series programs, to three broadcast networks: First, he convinced the stars of the hit ‘90s series Beverly Hills, 90210 to go to market with a bold new 90210 take, in which they agreed to play heightened versions of themselves in a scripted serialized dramedy; a fierce bidding war landed the show a series order at Fox. Then, he made a deal with sought-after moviestar and comedienne Tiffany Haddish to host Kids Say the Darndest Things, which also resulted in a bidding war and landed on the fall schedule at ABC. And he sold two crime reality series to CBS, including Whistleblower, currently in its second season. Ghen also has several pilots and other projects in the works at multiple other networks, including cable and streaming.
In earlier stints at CBS, Ghen developed and oversaw the multiple Emmy Award-winning The Amazing Race, the U.S. version of Big Brother (whose format was adopted by many international territories, extending the franchise’s life for many years), and on CW and later VH1, America’s Next Top Model. Along with Survivor, these programs are four of the longest-running reality TV franchises in the world. Other notable shows include Kid Nation, Power of 10, and Million Dollar Password.
As Executive Vice President, Primetime Development, at NBC, Ghen and his team developed My Name Is Earl and Heroes, both the highest-rated new TV programs in their debut seasons, among other scripted shows. As Vice President, Drama Development, at CBS, Ghen co-developed CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, the highest-rated new drama in its first season, which became an enduring franchise of several hits, as well as Judging Amy, The District, and others.
Ghen is a graduate of Harvard College, where he concentrated in social psychology while working full-time as publisher of the best-selling Let’s Go travel guides. Subsequently, he worked as Business Analyst at Houghton Mifflin Company in Boston.