BBC Worldwide has promoted former executive producer Julie Swanston as its new VP commissioning.
In her new post, Swanston will place premium content, A-list talent and creative partnerships at the heart of the original commissions and co-productions pipeline for the Channels arm of the business.
Swanston will focus on commissioning original content for BBC Brit and BBC Earth, two of the three brand new global BBC genre brands set for launch on a market-by-market basis later this year and into 2015 (with Liam Keelan overseeing BBC First).
In addition, Swanston will work closely with the BBC’s broader international Channels network, whilst maintaining close links with BBC AMERICA, BBC counterparts in the UK as well.
Commenting on her promotion Swanston said: “I am delighted to take on this creative position, starting my search immediately for prime-time, talent- led original content for BBC Earth and BBC Brit. I’m looking to commission ambitious series that will cut through on a global scale and shine a light on BBC Worldwide’s brand new genre brands”.
Commissioning original series for BBC Brit, Swanston will seek out male, factual entertainment programming covering areas including cars, engineering, “buddy trips” and popular science alongside British talent wit, expertise and camaraderie. The slate for BBC Earth will centre on brand new adventure heroes with unlimited stories to tell, and will also cover “passion projects”, extreme earth and extreme survival.
Swanston replaces Tracy Forsyth in this post, with Forsyth and Mark Reynolds announced last week as Genre Directors for Factual Entertainment and Entertainment, and Genre Director for Factual. News of Swanston, Forsyth and Reynolds’ promotions further underpins the business’ ambition to focus on premium content, backed by an increase in content spend to over £200m annually.
Prior to accepting her new role, Swanston worked as an Executive Producer at BBC Worldwide, working across brand new factual entertainment programmes including Almost Royal (BBC AMERICA’s first original comedy-reality series starring two British aristocrats on their first trip to the US, interacting with real-life Americans, airing this month in the US), Mud, Sweat and Gears (starring Brits Tom ‘Wookie’ Ford and Jonny Smith, in a 24 hour challenge series to mutate, supersize and reconstruct ordinary vehicles set against a Californian backdrop, due for release in 2014/15) and Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan S2 (Lord of the Rings actor and wildlife enthusiast Dominic Monaghan explores far flung corers of the earth from Costa Rica to Japan in his search for the world’s weirdest creatures alive, due for release in 2014/15). She jointly reported into BBC AMERICA for this role, the flagship US cable channel.
Before joining BBC Worldwide, Swanston worked at UKTV as a Commissioning Editor across Dave, Watch and Gold (jointly owned by BBC Worldwide and Scripps International) identifying and developing a portfolio of titles including the new incarnation of Yes, Prime Minister and Red Bull Soap Box for Dave.