In Depth

On the Horizon: Scott Lonker

Name: Scott Lonker

Title: VP of nonfiction and alternative programming for A&E and Bio

Working in reality television, a lot of the shows that get pitched seem the same. So Scott Lonker, VP of nonfiction and alternative programming for A&E Network and Bio Channel, gets very excited when something he hasn’t seen, or even thought of, comes through his door.

“It feels different,” he said of that kind of new project. “I run down the hall to the people in the other offices saying ‘you wouldn’t believe what I heard.’”

A former William Morris agent, Mr. Lonker said that in addition to taking pitches, he’s constantly calling agents and producers in search of unique properties.

“What I also try is to develop things internally, and then I’ll go out to a production company.”

One new A&E show Mr. Lonker developed is “Obsessed,” about therapists who tread obsessive compulsive disorder. He’d been working on something similar internally, when a production company he’d worked with said they had access to one of the top OCD therapists in the country.

Another upcoming A&E show is “Fugitive Chronicles,” a show that features high-end recreations of people running from the law. He took that show to a production company RDF and Raw, which had done “Locked Up Abroad” for National Geographic Channel.

The shows should fit well on A&E, he said because they are high-stakes stories with great characters and big payoffs at the end of every episode.” He’s especially proud of “Obsessed” because “it’s one of those few shows I think is extremely entertaining, but also does a lot of good for people out there in the world.”

Two years ago, Mr. Lonker both got married and was approach about a job by A&E. Now his wife is expecting their first child, which will be a boy.

“The baby’s been the best thing I’ve developed,” he said.

—Jon Lafayette

Filed under: Hot List, On the Horizon, Scott Lonker