Making his strongest statement yet about the direction in which he’s taking Discovery Channel, its new president Rich Ross announced this morning he’s named HBO veteran John Hoffman as Executive Vice President of Documentaries and Specials. Hoffman immediately assumes this key position on the senior leadership team of Discovery Communication’s flagship network, overseeing all development activities in the alternative and specials area. Hoffman will produce original documentary programming from development through production, commission and acquire films and specials, and be responsible for developing cross-platform programming.
Hoffman’s work has received numerous awards, including five Prime Time Emmy awards, a Peabody, two duPont-Columbia awards, among others. Before joining Discovery, Hoffman served as CEO of The Public Good Projects, a non-profit production company he founded in 2013 focusing on health issues. His company’s first film, Sleepless In America explored the sleep loss epidemic in the U.S., airing on National Geographic Channel in 2014, with Hoffman serving both as director and executive producer.
Earlier, Hoffman was a part of HBO Documentary Films for 17 years where, in addition to his executive role as vice president, he most recently executive produced and directed The Weight Of The Nation, a four-part documentary series about families struggling with obesity. Other notable HBO documentaries on which Hoffman served as a producer include The Alzheimer’s Project; Addiction; All Aboard! Rosie’s Family Cruise; Last Letters Home: Voices Of American Troops From The Battlefields of Iraq; A Rape In A Small Town: The Florence Holway Story; My Architect; In Memoriam: New York City, 9/11/01; Lalee’s Kin: The Legacy Of Cotton; the Sundance and Berlin Film Festival Award-winning film Paragraph 175; A Little Curious; Emmy-winning Children In War; Cancer: Evolution To Revolution; and the Emmy and Academy Award-winning film One Day In September, among others. Hoffman wrote companion books for three of his HBO films.
Before joining HBO, Hoffman created and produced the award-winning Nickelodeon series Allegra’s Window from 1993-96. He earlier served as a producer at Children’s Television Workshop and before that was administrative director of the Center for Special Studies at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center. Hoffman also co-founded the non-profit production company AIDSFILMS, dedicated to HIV education. As the executive director of AIDSFILMS from 1987-90, he raised funds and produced six multi-award winning documentaries including the PBS special, AIDS: Changing The Rules.
Don’t hold your breath waiting for Hoffman to greenlight a sequel to Discovery Channel’s recent special Eaten Alive.
“Documentaries remain an integral part of what we do and who we are at Discovery,” Ross said in this morning’s announcement. “Given our legacy, our documentary filmmaking must be valued and protected. John is one of the best in our business, and his filmmaking experience, coupled with his ability to bring together unprecedented partnerships, will keep Discovery moving forward as leaders in groundbreaking and award-winning documentary films.”
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