The promotion of Dan Smith from director to VP of production at Playboy Entertainment Group must have his former colleagues at ABC Family watching his rise at the company with more interest than ever. Since joining PEGI in 2002, Smith has been a part of the production teams that are responsible for hidden-camera series Totally Busted (hosted by Steve-O of Jackass), Spice Clips and Night Calls Hotline.
The Chicago native earned his B.S. in economics and theater from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, then went on to get an M.B.A. from UCLA in 1990.
After a flirtation with the agency business, Smith joined the Samuel Goldwyn Co. in 1993 and became VP of television development and production. While there, he worked on the amateur athletic competition show American Gladiators. He also revamped the heroic dolphin in The New Flipper and put a unique game-show twist on frightening tales with Secrets of the Crypt Keeper's Haunted House.
In 1998, Smith joined Fox Family Channel—later ABC Family—and became VP of development and production, helping to bring Scariest Places on Earth to the small screen.
“There were dozens of networks trying to pursue the same demo,” Smith says of kids programming. “It's exciting to be producing programming that people are willing to pay for.”