Former Discovery Channel exec Howard Swartz is returning to the network as Senior Vice President of Production and Development. In addition, Jon Bardin has been promoted to Vice President of Documentaries and Specials at Discovery.
In his new role, Swartz will head production for upcoming event programming including the weeklong hit series Shark Week, which is about to begin its 30th anniversary run on July 22. In addition, he will have oversight over the network’s documentaries and specials and will expand, develop, and diversify Discovery’s series slate and acquisitions.
Swartz moves back to Discovery Channel from Arrow Media where he most recently served as EVP of Development and Production, based out of the company’s London office. Swartz will re-locate to Discovery’s Los Angeles office and report to Nancy Daniels, Chief Brand Officer, Discovery & Factual.
“We are thrilled to have Howard back on the Discovery team,” says Daniels. “His impressive track record of launching some of television’s most iconic blue-chip programs rival anyone in the business. The team looks forward to his unique vision and exciting ideas as we continue to program for Discovery’s future.”
During his previous stint at Discovery Channel, Swartz oversaw high-profile global specials, including Shark Week and Skywire Live With Nik Wallenda, which was the highest-rated live event in Discovery Channel history. He also oversaw Discovery’s landmark Emmy-nominated science series Curiosity.
“I’m really grateful to Nancy and the team for giving me the opportunity to come back to Discovery,” says Swartz. “I’m excited to play a part in building on Discovery’s amazing brand and continuing its legacy of creating global content that is provocative, enlightening, and entertaining.”
Before joining Discovery in 2011, Swartz was Executive Producer at PBS’ acclaimed science series Nova where he received the prestigious Alfred I. DuPont Award as well as an AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Award. Prior to Nova, Swartz was with National Geographic Channel, where he oversaw signature series Explorer and executive produced more than 100 programs, including Emmy-winning Five Years on Mars Inside The Living Body and Incredible Human Machine.
Bardin received a News & Documentary Emmy for his work on Sonic Sea and was part of the team receiving a Primetime Emmy nomination for Racing Extinction. Additional credits as a supervising producer include, Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman, First in Human, and Killing The Colorado. Prior to joining Discovery Channel, Bardin co-founded the non-profit production company The Public Good Projects. Bardin will report to Swartz.