PBS executive Mike Kelley is joining ITV Studios Global Entertainment to bolster its U.S. sales team. Kelley, who was previously SVP, Programming, Business Affairs and Content Operations at the U.S. public broadcaster has been appointed SVP, Sales, Americas and will be based at ITVSGE’s LA operation. Kelly was instrumental in PBS’ launch of Mercy Street, its first original scripted drama in over a decade, and the development of a co-production deal with the BBC across history, natural history and science content. He will report to Greg Johnson, EVP, EMEA & Americas, who said, “Mike’s a smart and experienced executive and I am excited he is joining us to lead the distribution team in the Americas. His strategic background, along with exceptional commercial and creative abilities will not only benefit existing client relationships across the U.S., Canada and Latin America but also help us to identify new opportunities to build lasting partnerships across the business.”
China is a great consumer of Marvel movies, but drivers showing their affinity for superheroes will from today be banned from attaching action figures to the tops of their cars. Local press reports that in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, drivers will be hit with an RMB 200 ($32) fine and a two-point penalty if they’re caught in the practice. Sticking dolls onto car roofs has become a trend over the past few months in China, the reports say, but there are concerns over them flying away at high speeds. Also popular adornments are Minions, and Super Mario and Disney Princess characters.
October Films, the U.S./ UK production company behind History’s Barbarians Rising, has struck a creative partnership with British director Matt Smith. The move will see Smith, who was behind RTS Award-winning doc Rio Ferdinand: Being Mum And Dad as well as BBC One’s David Beckham: For The Love Of The Game, exclusively produce future projects through October. The deal includes investment in development and production support. It is the latest production deal for October, which backed Julian Hobbs and Elli Hakami’s firm Talos Films. Smith said, “I’m utterly thrilled to be partnering with the team at October at such an exciting time in television. I’ve been lucky enough to produce and direct some amazing programmes so far, but the offer to develop and produce a slate of ideas alongside a fantastic team was too good to refuse. I can’t wait to get started.”
Former Great British Bake Off host Sue Perkins will return to host the Virgin TV British Academy Television Awards on May 13 this year, reprising her role from 2017. The presenter, writer and comedian said, “I had an absolute blast hosting last year’s awards and I am genuinely thrilled to be invited back. It’s a real pleasure to be the master of ceremonies once more, as we celebrate the very best in British television.” She’s also co-hosting two special episodes of The Generation Game on BBC One this Easter, alongside her longstanding comedy partner Mel Giedroyc. The duo are three-time BAFTA winners for their work on GBBO from 2010 to 2016. BAFTA TV Craft nominations came out last week and nods for the main prizes will be announced on April 4. The ceremony will then take place at the Royal Festival Hall and be broadcast on BBC One.