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Marriott Marquis | Washington, DC | Sunday, January 28 – Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Event News

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Keynote alert: Inside Nat Geo with Tom McDonald!

Realscreen is happy to reveal that Tom McDonald, National Geographic’s executive vice president of global factual and unscripted content, will offer a deep dive into Nat Geo and its ambitious plans for its unscripted and non-fiction slate via a special keynote conversation at the upcoming 2024 Realscreen Summit in New Orleans.

For his keynote session, taking place on January 29, McDonald — whose team at Nat Geo oversees more than 300 hours of programming a year — will preview several upcoming series for Summit delegates, share details about the network’s commitment to ushering in fresh takes on natural history, science and adventure programming for Nat Geo’s multigenerational and global audiences, and describe how it looks to international producers to deliver on that commitment.

McDonald, who joined NatGeo in 2022 after many years with the BBC, oversees the development and production of all global unscripted series and specials across all formats and categories for Nat Geo content produced for both Disney+ and the global linear channels National Geographic, Nat Geo Wild and Nat Geo Mundo. Delivering on ambitious programming goals within his first year at the company, McDonald upholds Nat Geo as the model for unscripted and factual storytelling that feeds curiosity and seeks truth and understanding.

Among other highlights of his time at Nat Geo, McDonald oversaw the release of Limitless with Chris Hemsworth — the most-watched Nat Geo title on Disney+ — and also helped expand Hemsworth’s relationship with Nat Geo, shepherding a first-look deal with Hemsworth and producer Ben Grayson’s Wild State Company to bring in fresh unscripted projects focused on adventure, exploration, travel and science.

Other notable recent Nat Geo titles include the Emmy-nominated Secrets of the Elephants; the multi-Emmy-nominated investigative documentary series Trafficked with Mariana Van Zeller; and the greenlight of three new seasons of the One Day in America franchise (covering the JFK assassination, the Jonestown massacre and the Oklahoma City bombing) following the success of 9/11: One Day in America.

McDonald will be interviewed at his Summit keynote by Benjamin Grayson, who co-founded Wild State Company with his longtime friend and collaborator Chris Hemsworth in 2022. He served as an executive producer on Shark Beach and Limitless for National Geographic/Disney+, as well as Hemsworth’s scripted Netflix films Extraction and Extraction 2. Prior to Wild State, Grayson spent years working for film and television directors before taking on development executive roles at Radley Studios and, later, Range Media Partners.

The world at your table! Sign-ups for Breakfast With and Meet a Distributor are open

The sign-ups for Breakfast With and Meet a Distributor sessions are open! Gain rare access to the top international unscripted commissioners and distributors. There are still a couple of slots left, and you need to be registered to secure your spot at the table.

HBO's Nancy Abraham and Lisa Heller to be honored with a Realscreen Hall of Fame induction

We are pleased to announce that Nancy Abraham and Lisa Heller will be honored at the upcoming Realscreen Awards with an induction into its Hall of Fame, preceded by a special keynote interview taking place during Realscreen Summit. During this conversation, Abraham and Heller will discuss the ingredients that make for captivating HBO docs and their approach to building noteworthy slates year upon year.

With Abraham and Heller at the helm since 2018, HBO Documentaries has remained the premier destination for filmmakers within the documentary world and the brand continues to be in a league of its own, thanks to their ability to work with creative talent and let the story, art, and craft drive each title. With a deep respect for filmmakers and creative collaborators, both renowned and emerging, Abraham and Heller’s commitment to diverse stories and storytellers means that their slate always features a unique mix of styles and subject matters.

Both women have long histories with HBO’s renowned documentary division, with Abraham being named VP, HBO Documentary Programming in 1998, and Heller joining HBO in 2000, and moving into her VP role a year later. Over the course of their careers, they have delivered unparalleled slates of groundbreaking and genre-defining documentary features and series including such recent projects as Telemarketers, Last Call and Being Mary Tyler Moore, and myriad acclaimed and award-winning titles such as 2019’s Leaving Neverland, 2020’s McMillion$, The Apollo and I’ll be Gone in the Dark; 2021’s Allen v. Farrow and Exterminate All the Brutes; and 2022’s 100 Foot Wave and George Carlin’s American Dream. Recent and upcoming titles include aka Mr. Chow, Stand Up and Shout: Songs from a Philly High School, You Were My First Boyfriend, Albert Brooks: Defending My Life, Murder in Boston: Roots, Rampage, and Reckoning, and the newly announced six-episode documentary series The Jinx, Part 2, a continuation of the Emmy®-winning series from Andrew Jarecki. Other titles coming in 2024 include Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project and STAX: Soulsville, USA.

Secure your pass to hear Abraham and Heller's thoughts on the current challenges and opportunities facing the documentary industry.

ABC Entertainment and Hulu Originals' Rob Mills to keynote at Realscreen Summit 2024

We are excited to announce that Rob Mills will open Realscreen Summit 2024! In a highly-anticipated keynote conversation, Mills will offer valuable insights on harnessing the power of unscripted television to cut through an increasingly crowded content landscape.

Mills, one of the industry's top unscripted execs, heads up Walt Disney Television Alternative, a production unit for unscripted programming; and oversees development and production for alternative programming, specials and late-night for ABC Entertainment and Hulu Originals. He also has oversight of ABC daytime programming.

Having joined ABC’s Alternative department in 2003, Mills has been responsible for series including star-making sensation American Idol; reality phenomenon Shark Tank; The Bachelor franchise; long-running hits Dancing with the Stars and America’s Funniest Home Videos; late-night talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live; and syndicated daytime talk show Live with Kelly and Mark. He also has oversight of network special events, including The Oscars®, The CMA Awards and Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest.

In 2021, Mills added unscripted programming for Hulu Originals to his purview, overseeing reality juggernaut The Kardashians and the highly-anticipated upcoming Vanderpump Villas. Also that year he launched Walt Disney Television Alternative, which delivered the dazzling Emmy®-nominated special Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration.

Make sure you're in the room as Mills shares Disney Entertainment Television’s multiplatform approach to alternative programming.

Major unscripted execs coming to Realscreen Summit!

Discover the exciting sessions we have lined up so far and the industry execs you will be able to hear from. These programmers are uniquely poised to provide insights, strategies, and guidance to navigate the ever-evolving world of unscripted. Stay tuned as we are adding more content every day! 

Want a shot at a 20k development deal?
Summit Showdown is open for entries!

Summit Showdown, the Realscreen Summit’s highly-anticipated live international pitch competition, is on the lookout for the next big uncommissioned unscripted or non-fiction one-off program or series.

Our supporting networks, NBCUniversal (for Crime & Documentary) and Food Network, will each provide one development deal of up to US$20,000 to a winning project.

More details on how to participate can be found here.

The deadline for entries is Friday, December 1, 2023.

Meet the 2024 advisory board!

The Summit is a can't-miss destination for anyone doing business in the unscripted space, and as markets continue to morph, this annual forum of thought-leaders and decision-makers is more business-critical than ever.

We're excited to announce the Advisory Board members who are participating in shaping the agenda for an essential deep dive into what's resonating across the global industry now - spotlighting the innovators and smart content strategies you need to know about.

Get your pass here and see you in New Orleans!

Plan to be there - secure your RSS New Orleans room now!

Take advantage of easy on-site access to meetings and networking by staying at the Sheraton New Orleans during Realscreen Summit 2024.

Our hotel reservation link is live, and registered attendees can book a standard room from Sunday, January 28 to Thursday, February 1, 2024, starting at US$229++ per night. This is the guaranteed lowest rate!

Avoid disappointment and secure your room before the block is sold out!

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