EXCLUSIVE: BBC Worldwide is to move out of commissioning original content for its slew of international channels and has eliminated positions across its programming team.
The commercial arm of the BBC has shifted its strategy from ordering factual entertainment series such as Fishing Impossible and Stupid Man Smart Phone for its BBC Earth and BBC Brit channels. Last year, the two channels aired over 50 hours of originally commissioned content.
These channels will now concentrate on airing a mixture of existing BBC Worldwide-distributed series, including natural history titles like Planet Earth II, and more local formats.
The move has meant that the company has closed two commissioning editor roles in London. Hannah Demidowicz has been with the company since 2014, having joined from Nat Geo Channels International, where she was head of programs for Europe. Kirsty Hanson joined from Warner Bros-owned UK indie Twenty Twenty in 2015. Both previously reported to BBC Worldwide’s genre director of factual entertainment, factual and formats Tracy Forsyth.
Following the layoffs, Forsyth has created a new development producer role to work across both channels.
“Our global network of branded services has grown and evolved since 2014 -– with their commissioning strategies also adapting to best fit their content needs. As a result, much of the resource put into delivering global fact ent tape has been redirected towards meeting a growing demand for formats and fact ent that can be localized,” a BBC Worldwide spokesman told Deadline.
BBC Earth is available across Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe, Canada and India, while BBC Brit, which previously aired Mud, Sweat & Gears in association with BBC America, is currently available across the Nordic territories, Africa and Eastern Europe.