International commissions are coming thick and fast for the BBC’s recently unleashed production division, this time in Australia. BBC Studios is set to produce a new season of science series Stargazing for local public broadcaster ABC. The news comes a week after it secured wildlife doc The Red List for U.S. cable network Discovery.
The production arm of the BBC will produce Stargazing Live 2, following the success of the first run, which aired as a three-day event in March last year, produced by FremantleMedia. It will also launch an Australian production unit once its merger with BBC Worldwide kicks in in April 2018.
The series, which starred physicist Professor Brian Cox and presenter Julia Zemiro, will be produced by BBC Studios’ Science Unit in the UK, including executive producer Helen Thomas and series producer Paul King.
Steve Bibb, Head of Factual at ABC, says, “Stripped over three nights, Stargazing Live was a new kind of event programming for ABC in 2017. It reached an incredible number of Australians right across all our platforms and on social media. Our viewers even discovered a new solar system in a major citizen science project. ABC is thrilled to be working closely with BBC Studios to make Stargazing Live an even bigger and more exciting event this year.”
This comes as BBC Studios prepares to launch a stand-alone production arm in Australia. It is currently searching for a Director of Production to run the division, which will be tasked with securing more Australian commissions. It is working with headhunters Mission Bay on the search.
The new Director of Production will report into the international production division which, from April, will be led Anna Mallett, Managing Director, Production and COO, BBC Studios. The role will also form part of the ANZ executive management team, which is led by Jon Penn, Managing Director of BBC Worldwide ANZ.
Mallett says, “This commission with ABC is an exciting first step for BBC Studios production in Australia and we look forward to more collaborations as we bring our editorial creativity to new audiences.”
The move is a return to production for the British public broadcaster, which, via BBC Worldwide, previously owned an equity stake in Australian production company Freehand.