Simon will oversee all non-children’s programming and starts his new gig in late September.
“Perry brings a breadth of media experience, including leadership roles at BBC and Vulcan Productions — two of our longstanding partners who share a commitment to educational and informative content,” Kerger said of the choice.
“He is an innovative leader who will work closely with our extraordinary team at PBS, as well as producers and partners across the public television system, to deliver on our mission of service to the American people.”
Simon replaces Beth Hoppe, who left her position as chief programmer at PBS in February to become SVP of longform content at ABC News.
Simon’s extensive experience stretches from major broadcast companies and cable networks to digital upstarts and production companies.
From 2010 to 2015, Simon served as general manager of BBC America, overseeing the channel’s cable and digital platforms. While there he commissioned the network’s first original programming, including the very buzzy hit Orphan Black. Simon helped orchestrate multiple U.S.-U.K. co-productions, including Luther, The Hour and Broadchurch, and several documentaries in partnership with the BBC’s natural history unit.
Most recently, Simon was managing director at Vulcan Productions, the social impact media company founded by Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Paul G. Allen. Vulcan Productions, which produces feature documentaries, television series and digital content, has often partnered with PBS, including on the recent documentary film Going To War and last year’s live PBS telecast and upcoming documentary on Allen’s discovery of the USS Indianapolis.
Simon served as president of Viacom Productions for a decade, overseeing development and production of series and movies targeted for broadcast and cable networks, as well as first-run syndication, international markets, children’s markets and emerging digital platforms.
As chief content officer at the Silicon Valley startup Sezmi Corporation, he executed licensing deals with networks and major film studios to launch one of the earliest OTT television services. He also served as an early advisor to YouTube before it was acquired by Google.
Simon began his television career at NBC, rising to become executive vice president in charge of the prime time schedule. During that tenure, he helped develop and supervise some of the most iconic series of the 1980s and early 1990s, including Cheers, The Golden Girls, Law & Order, Frasier and Seinfeld.
Simon is a member of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and serves on the board of directors of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon, one of America’s oldest and largest regional theaters.