UPDATES earlier exclusive, with quotes:: It’s official. David Eilenberg is returning to being a buyer.
The Chief Creative Officer of ITV America is joining Roku as its Head of Originals.
ilenberg will join in April and report to Rob Holmes, VP Programming at Roku.
It comes as the streaming service has been ramping up the amount of exclusive and original content that it develops and commissions.
Last year, Roku acquired Quibi’s library of original content and launched dozens of short-form shows on The Roku Channel, including a number that never launched on the Jeffrey Katzenberg-led service. In addition, it renewed a number of shows for second seasons.
But outside of the Quibi deal, the service, which essentially began as a streaming aggregator, has plans to bolster its pipeline of original series and films even further with plans to order around 50 series and films over the next two years.
It launched its first feature film – Zoey’s Extraordinary Christmas – in December, a follow-up to the canceled NBC series and earlier this week unveiled plans to have an exclusive second window, after Spectrum Originals, for Nick Stoller and Carla Kettner’s Florida dramedy Panhandle.
Roku has also been staffing up over the last 18 months; Deadline revealed last year that it had hired two executives from Quibi – Colin Davis was tapped as Head of Scripted Originals and Brian Tannenbaum as Head of Alternative Originals.
Eilenberg’s hire is a big calling card for the service, particularly on the non-scripted side. As CCO of ITV America, he has overseen creative strategy across a range of production banners and genres. Prior to that role, he was President of ITV Entertainment, where he produced Netflix’s Queer Eye, Love Island and Fox’s Hell’s Kitchen.
Before joining ITV, he was SVP, Unscripted Development, Late Night and Specials at Turner, overseeing TNT and TBS series including King of the Nerds, Cold Justice and Howie Mandel’s Deal with It, as well as Conan.
He also worked for Mark Burnett Productions as Head of Development and Current Programming, where he helped sell, develop and produce series including The Voice, Shark Tank, The Bible and Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader? He was also head writer on the first incarnation of The Weakest Link and Sacha Baron Cohen’s Da Ali G Show.
“Throughout his remarkable career, David has pioneered compelling television that has resonated with audiences around the world,” said Holmes. “With millions of streamers demonstrating there is a strong appetite for original programming on The Roku Channel, it is the perfect time to welcome one of the most experienced and well-respected creative executives in the business to oversee the next exciting phase for Roku Originals, while also helping us further establish The Roku Channel as a destination for users to watch great free original programming and advertisers to reach scaled audiences only available in streaming.”
“I am thrilled and honored to be tapped to lead Roku Originals during this incredibly dynamic phase of its evolution,” added Eilenberg. “Roku’s culture of innovation and relentless focus on creating the best possible experiences for viewers make it a natural home to launch terrific original series, and I look forward to finding and nurturing those series under Rob’s leadership and with the exemplary team he has built. I’m also immensely grateful to David George, Adam Sher, Danielle Bibbo and all my colleagues at ITV America for an incredible six years of teamwork and creativity, and I expect to remain in business together in my new capacity.”
ITV America CEO David George wished Eilenberg all the best. “All of us at ITV America are genuinely happy for David and we know he’ll lead programming at Roku with his signature creativity, razor-sharp wit and distinct point of view. It’s always hard to say goodbye to a close colleague, but we know our friendship and partnership will continue in an exciting new way. They’re lucky to have him and we wish him the very best.”
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