Sirens Media President Mioshi Hill Talks Championing Diversity in Unscripted and Pitching to Streaming Platforms
by: Monica Marie Zorrilla
It hasn’t even been a week on the job, and Mioshi Hill is already thinking of what revelatory (or juicy) reality series she should pitch next.
The recently instated president of ITV America’s Sirens Media (and the successor of Jessica Sebastian-Dayeh) is a savvy storytelling veteran, having overseen a robust slate of unscripted projects at her former position of VP of non-fiction programming at Lifetime. There, she spent four years developing upcoming shows such as the Sarah Jessica Parker exec-produced “Swipe Swap,” “Finding Justice” starring Elizabeth Smart and “Vivica’s Black Magic,” led by “Soul Train” legend Vivica A. Fox. With more than a decade worth of independent production experience under her belt, Hill will now shepherd various Sirens Media projects currently in development, including an untitled comedic docuseries for Netflix and collaborations with Comedy Central, E!, We TV and Bravo, as well as shows already in existences like the long-running and always dramatic “The Real Housewives of New Jersey.”
Hill chatted with Variety on what her plans are at the Los Angeles-based company, and where she sees the future of unscripted programming on linear and streaming.
Sirens Media has a very diverse slate of programming with lots of different stories and voices being given a space and a moment on television. Why do you think that representation should be prioritized in unscripted programming?
As an African American woman, it is incredibly healing and affirming to take a leadership position during a time when women and people of colors’ perspectives and life experiences are at the center of pop culture and social change. I love the fact that Sirens has always had a history of being face-forward when it comes to trying to be more inclusive and to make sure that the invisible is more visible. I hope to expand upon that. Right now we have learned that a great story is really the most powerful thing in the universe because that’s the only thing that can change hearts and minds — and particularly in the nonfiction space because this is a mirror of life. We’re putting a spotlight on what people’s real-life experiences are and their real perspectives. It’s not only a responsibility but also an absolute privilege to helm a label that has always been about representation. I absolutely intend that every project that we pay out leaves an impression on the versatility of the story, the diversity of the cast and the diversity of the subject matter.
Sirens Media was in the midst of producing a practical jokes Quibi show with Cara Delevigne — and, well, you know Quibi’s fate. What’s going on with that now that the platform shut down?
The good news is that I think the Quibi experiment was one that the marketplace was ready for and there were so many great content creators that ran towards it. Sirens was one of those content creators that said, “Hey, this is a new platform that resonates with how we’re watching and consuming content and we should go for it.” I think there’s a lot of reasons why they had to press pause on that venture, but I feel very proud that Sirens was one of the first to the punch to create for them. As to where that show is now, I know that there are a lot of deals in and at play right now, but we may not be able to share all those details just yet. We’re so proud of the program that we created over there and we’re excited to see if there’s another home for it.
What do you think the future of unscripted programming is on streaming? What are the differences between what works for cable versus streaming?
It’s two-fold for the streamers. On one hand, they’ve learned how to make it okay to be super niche because it is all programmed for that specific viewer. You can pull up what you want, and they can watch your viewing habits. So, you have these programs and concepts that I think 10 years ago you couldn’t have found an audience for because they weren’t broad enough. The streamers have made it possible for everyone to get a piece of the pie. On the business side what that has created is an insatiable beast for programming. So that absolutely shifts how we ideate and how we develop programming because we have to stay fresh. We can’t be afraid to take risky swings to make sure that our programming speaks to the moment because, two months from now, that’s going to be different. It changes the development arc because, in the cable landscape, that arc is just traditionally a little longer. They’re both feeding into each other, and it’s exciting because they’re pushing each other. It’s like watching two racehorses try to run across the finish line.
Season 11 of “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” will debut Feb. 17 on Bravo. “Nikita Unfiltered” will be back for Season 2 on Snapchat, but the exact timing has yet to be announced.