Vinnie Malhotra to head pay cable channel's doc team
Fresh from airing the new Brando documentary Listen to Me Marlon, Showtime announced it has named CNN exec Vinnie Malhotra to lead the network's non-fiction programming initiatives.
Malhotra, who joined CNN in 2012 as a senior vice-president, will serve at Showtime in the newly-created role of Senior Vice President, Documentaries, Unscripted and Sports Programming, the network said in a press release. He will be based out of Showtime's LA offices.
Malhotra will report to Gary Levine, President of Programming at Showtime.
"We are proud that Showtime has become a competitive player in the documentary world and a creative haven for award-winning filmmakers," Levine said in the press release. "We are thrilled to have an executive of [Malhotra's] caliber taking our ambitious documentary and docu-series slate to the next level."
I worked with Malhotra at CNN's Los Angeles bureau, where he acquired a slate of noteworthy documentaries for the news channel, including Blackfish, directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite.
Malhotra launched CNN Films, a unit tasked with developing and acquiring documentary films for the news channel. Among the projects he shepherded onto CNN were Life Itself, the acclaimed documentary about Roger Ebert, Whitey: The United States v. James J. Bulger, Ivory Tower and Kirby Dick's The Hunting Ground [which premieres on CNN this Thursday].
Malhotra also oversaw development and production of original series for CNN, including Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown, Morgan Spurlock: Inside Man and Somebody's Gotta Do It with Mike Rowe. Before these series and the aforementioned documentaries began to air on CNN. the network only featured shows, specials and documentaries that were developed in-house. In other words, it was a huge departure for CNN to start acquiring content produced by outside entities.
Bewteen 2010-2012, Malhotra worked for ESPN as vice president and executive producer for content development, an experience that should prove useful at Showtime, where he will also create doc sports content.
The hiring of Malhotra demonstrates Showtime's commitment to non-fiction content. HBO Documentary Films has long been the leader in that category among pay cable channels, but Showtime has upped the ante of late by developing some prominent documentary projects, including Stevan Riley's Listen to Me Marlon, Prophet's Prey directed by Oscar nominated filmmaker Amy Berg and Dreamcatcher, from director Kim Longinotto.
The full press release from Showtime:
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and Documentary.org.