Director, Program Development (Smithsonian Channel)

Ref#: 31188
CBS Business Unit: Smithsonian Networks
Job Type: Full-Time Staff
Job Schedule: Full-Time
Job Location: Washington, DC, US


Smithsonian Channel is home to some of the world’s best factual entertainment, and the Program Development department is responsible for identifying, developing and acquiring the thoughtful and engaging content that is at the heart of our brand. 

We’re looking for an experienced and organized individual to join our team in a full-time position that reports directly to the Senior Vice President of Program Development. You will work with the editorial team to create and develop programming suitable for Smithsonian Channel’s domestic and international platforms as well as ensuring the smooth day-to-day operations of the department. You will manage dozens of proposals simultaneously and be expected to prioritize them according to the needs of the network. You will be a focal point of information for both Smithsonian staff and outside producers. 

Specific Responsibilities:

  • Evaluate pitch materials such as series treatments and sizzle reels to decide which potential programs deserve further development, while also considering financial implications, ratings analysis, and overall programming mix. 
  • Keep an open line of communication with producers and distributors. Introduce producers to Smithsonian Channel content and provide guidance on what content we are looking for. 
  • Develop series and specials in tandem with the programming, production, marketing and press departments. 
  • Research proposal ideas and provide thoughtful feedback and editorial guidance for potential programming. 
  • Screen finished content that might be rewritten and versioned for an American audience. Negotiate fees program acquisition. 
  • Support the Senior Vice President of Program Development by scheduling meetings and phone calls, maintaining regularly run reports, creating ad hoc reports upon request, planning/scheduling conferences, etc. 
  • Maintain a web-based submissions and program database (Salesforce platform) to track all potential and contracted programs.  
  • Attend and organize industry conferences as required. 

  • Minimum 4-5 years as a producer or development producer in the non-fiction programming,  documentary production;
  • Strong knowledge of the U.S. and International non-fiction landscape.
  • Excellent analytical skills and ability to evaluate commercial documentaries and provide creative feedback;
  • Familiarity with production budgets and production models
  • Outstanding organizational skills and ability take initiative and self-manage workload while performing in a deadline driven environment
  • Attention to detail and accuracy in recording, tracking and delivering information;
  • Comprehensive knowledge of new media platforms, mediums and storytelling formats;
  • Strong work ethic and ability to maintain a positive attitude with a flexible and collaborative approach at all times;
  • Working knowledge and proficiency in database use.


  • Speaks another language, especially Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, French, etc.
  • Significant experience using the Salesforce platform, or other database software.
  • Knowledge about the Smithsonian Institution, its mission and collections.
  • Production background a plus.

About Us:
Smithsonian Channel™, owned by Smithsonian Networks™, a joint venture between Showtime Networks Inc. and the Smithsonian Institution, is where curiosity lives, inspiration strikes and wonders never cease. This is the place for awe-inspiring stories, powerful documentaries and amazing entertainment across multiple platforms. Smithsonian Channel combines the storytelling prowess of SHOWTIME® with the unmatched resources and rich traditions of the Smithsonian, to create award-winning programming that shines new light on popular genres such as air and space, history, science, nature, and pop culture. Among the network’s offerings are series including Aerial America, America in Color, First Ladies Revealed, Polar Bear Town, The Lost Tapes, Amazing Monkeys, America’s Secret Space Heroes, Mighty Ships, Mighty Planes and Air Disasters, as well as critically-acclaimed specials that include Titanic’s Fatal Fire, The Obama Years: The Power of Words, Nightmare on Everest, Diana and the Paparazzi, Diana: The Day We Said Goodbye and Flying High with Phil Keoghan. Smithsonian Networks also operates Smithsonian Earth™, through SN Digital LLC., a new subscription video streaming service delivering spectacular original nature and wildlife content. To learn more, go to, or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
EEO Statement:
Equal Opportunity Employer Minorities/Women/Veterans/Disabled
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