CNBC Getting into Reality Programming, Hires Jim Ackerman as SVP

By Chris Ariens 

Jim Ackerman, a one-time “Dateline NBC” and “Today” show producer who’s been developing series at VH1 for the past several years, is returning to NBC as Senior Vice President of primetime alternative programming at CNBC.

This is a new role at CNBC, which appears to want to break out of the traditional long-form business programming which makes up primetime — corporate portraits, fraud and stories of business tycoons — and add what has become a staple of cable and broadcast TV: reality shows. Ackerman will report directly to CNBC president Mark Hoffman.

“Jim will be responsible for CNBC’s strategy, development and production of new formats, including reality for our networks,” writes Hoffman in a note to staff.


While at VH1 Ackerman oversaw development of shows including “Best Week Ever,” “Celebrity Fit Club,” and “Race-o-Rama.”

In his career, Ackerman has developed projects for Buena Vista, Telepictures, Fox News and HBO and was EP of Lifetime’s “The Jane Pratt Show.” In the 1990s, he worked at CBS News as senior broadcast producer of “CBS This Morning.”

Hoffman’s note after the jump…

From: CNBC Employee Communications (CNBC)
Sent: Thursday, February 09, 2012 2:43 PM
Subject: Message from Mark Hoffman

I am very pleased to announce that Jim Ackerman will join CNBC as Senior Vice President, Primetime Alternative Programming, reporting to me. In this newly created position, Jim will be responsible for CNBC’s strategy, development and production of new formats, including reality for our networks. His work will complement our highly successful long form and documentary content which has been established over the last few years.

Jim brings an eclectic mix of programming success in both news and entertainment. Most recently, Jim was at VH1 where he was Senior Vice President of Development and Production. At VH1, he was the driving force for a number of hit shows including “Love & Hip Hop,” “Tool Academy,” “Scream Queens” and “Celebrity Fit Club.” While at VH1, he created partnerships with movie studios and played a key role in developing and overseeing the weekly comedy wrap-up show “Best Week Ever.”

Jim started his career in 1985 as a producer on NBC’s “Today” show. During his tenure at NBC News, he also produced for the primetime newsmagazine shows “Dateline NBC,” Real Life with Jane Pauley” and “First Person with Maria Shriver.” In 1992, Jim joined Lifetime where he executive produced a youth-oriented talk show, “Jane Pratt on TV.” In 1996, Jim moved to CBS and was named Senior Broadcast Producer of “CBS This Morning” where he oversaw the show’s editorial content.

In 1999, Jim left news and began developing his own original shows. He sold a number of formats to third party production companies and secured a series of overall deals with ABC, Buena Vista and Warner Brothers Television. In 2003, he was recruited by VH1 to oversee East Coast development. He was promoted to Senior Vice President of Development and Production in 2006.

Jim lives in Montclair, New Jersey with his wife and their two children.

Jim’s first day is this Monday, February 13th. Please join me in congratulating Jim and welcoming him to CNBC.