Robyn Lattaker Johnson (Courtesy photo)

Robyn Lattaker Johnson is a former unscripted media executive who ran content development and production at OWN, REVOLT TV, BET and the Syfy channel. Of late, Lattaker Johnson is an A3 Artists talent agent who manages unscripted showrunners and production companies.

Lattaker Johnson says streaming networks and cable television seek content very differently.

She says streamers are looking to develop unscripted content with an already built-in audience, and usually with creators who have large social media followings. The reasoning behind this methodology, Lattaker Johnson added, is to draw more subscribers to their streaming service.

“It’s not really about who’s watching it. It’s about how many more subscribers can ‘we’ get based on this show,” said Lattaker Johnson.

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“The streamers pass on a lot of good content, and they know that – They’re not just looking for good content. They’re looking for content that will scream at the audience and say, ‘Please come subscribe.’”

Lattaker Johnson says cable television’s approach is a little different because their content is driven by advertisers, so they’re looking for programming that will draw consumers to commercial brands.

Many viewers of unscripted television may think a reality show star’s controversial off-screen antics may also contribute to the success of a show, but Lattaker Johnson says that may not always be the case.

“I think it depends on the kind of drama,” said Lattaker Johnson. “I know that there are some executives and some producers who really want to lean into that, but I do think there is a certain level of responsibility that producers and executives should have.”

Lattaker Johnson says fans are more interested in seeing the reality star as an actual person who is dealing with true life situations and not curated ones. She believes times today are very different from years past, that some scandalous actions are no longer socially acceptable.

Lattaker Johnson says in the future she would like to see more creator-driven content with less network involvement because there is a lot of new content audiences do not see due to corporate fears of investing in original ideas.

Lattaker Johnson says content creators who are utilizing video sharing and social media platforms like YouTube are ahead of the game.

“The content creators are killing it! They’re figuring out they can tell stories without spending a million dollars – which is fantastic,” exclaimed Lattaker Johnson.

“Streaming is awesome. Everybody is aspiring to be in the streaming world, but I think we all got a little spoiled in the early days when Netflix was spending a lot of money.”

Because that business model has shifted, Lattaker Johnson says self-producing is a great way to get creator content seen.

Robyn Lattaker Johnson (Courtesy photo)

“There are some producers who don’t really care what the content is — they just want to make content. They love the making of [content], and I appreciate that. I value that as well,” said Lattaker Johnson.

“Then, there are some more people concentrated on content that they want to be able to share with the world.”

A talent agent with an MFA from the Art Center College of Design in film directing, who also graduated cum laude from the University of Washington with a BA in communications and broadcast journalism, Lattaker Johnson is passionate about uplifting underrepresented voices.

“It’s not just about telling Black stories, or Asian stories, or Pakistani stories, or whatever. It’s not just about that. It’s about showing a multitude of different stories,” said Lattaker Johnson.

She believes any diverse group should have the same opportunities as their Caucasian, particularly male, counterparts.

“There is still work that needs to be done, there are still stories that need to be told,” said Lattaker Johnson.

She says she once read that the unscripted space has been more diverse than scripted television, but she says scripted content is starting to catch up.

“I do think that as a viewer we’re all seeing ourselves represented a lot more on screen – There’s an awareness as a person of color in the industry that there are not going to be very many of us in any given space at the same time,” said Lattaker Johnson.

She concluded, “But if you get us in a room, all of us in that same [creative] space at the same time, it’s a party because there’s a lot of us [in the entertainment industry].”