Discovery’s ID Tops Unscripted Producers’ Annual Rankings; Hulu, CBS & History Touted In NPACT List

·3 min read

Investigation Discovery (ID) has emerged as non-scripted producers’ favorite network to deal with over the last twelve months.

The factual cable network has topped NPACT’s annual rankings with Hulu, CBS and History also being touted as among the top stations to work with.

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NPACT, the trade association for non-fiction production companies doing business in the U.S., has regularly put out these rankings, although last year they asked producers to name the best partner during Covid-19 with Bravo, Discovery, HBO Max and Netflix coming out top.

Unscripted, documentary and reality producers are asked to collectively gauge their favorite networks and streaming platforms across numerous categories. This year, those categories including virtual pitching, development, greenlighting process, business affairs, production oversight and notes, production management and finance as well as their favorite network and streamer to work with overall.

Some 49 production companies took part.

Investigation Discovery was rated producers’ favorite network to work with overall. It’s a somewhat surprising choice given that the Homicide Hunter broadcaster went through an executive shuffle last year that saw Henry Schlieff, who has been in charge of the network for over a decade, step down along with general manager Kevin Bennett departing with Jason Sarlanis taking over the true-crime network.

Hulu, which has made unscripted series including McCartney 3,2,1, The Curse of Von Dutch and The D’Amelio Show this year, was cited in the top 10 across more categories than any other network or platform. Big Brother broadcaster CBS and A+E Networks’ History tied for second place with HBO, HBO Max and ID in third across all categories.

In terms of virtual pitching, ID came top, followed by Viceland, SundanceTV, TLC, OWN, WEtv, E!, Hulu, CNN, and History. Nickelodeon led in program development followed by Hulu, YouTube Originals, Viceland, CBS, HBO Max, HBO, USA, Peacock, and ID. Hulu topped the greenlighting process followed by CBS, ID, Disney+, Peacock, WEtv, VH1, Magnolia, USA, and History. Nat Geo topped business affairs followed by Showtime, HBO Max, Apple, Hulu, Disney+, truTV, AMC, History, and Nat Geo Wild. The latter led in production oversight and notes followed by YouTube Originals, HBO Max, Hulu, CBS, HBO, ID, Showtime, PBS, and OWN. TruTV topped in production management followed by History, Nickelodeon, National Geographic, Fox, CBS, HBO Max, Paramount+, Hulu, and HBO. BET was number in finance followed by WEtv, NatGeoWild, HBO, CBS, Travel, Hulu, History, Viceland, and truTV.

You can see the full survey results here.

NPACT General Manager Michelle Van Kempen said, “Responding to the immense challenge of producing during the pandemic, unscripted was the first sector to come back, and come back safely. Much changed as a result of these challenges and this year’s survey is an opportunity to spotlight our network and streaming partners that have adapted in a producer-friendly way. It’s also a chance to evaluate what’s working well in the production world, and where there’s room for improvement as we work together to navigate the ‘new normal.’”

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