Viacom is expanding its production business in the UK and has handed responsibility to Comedy Central and Paramount international chief Jill Offman.
The U.S. media giant has launched a production center in Manchester and has rebranded its UK division Elephant House Studios as Viacom International Studios UK. This follows the launch of Viacom International Studios in Latin America last year. Separately, it has also opened a production base in Madrid.
Elephant House was responsible for series including reality format Make or Break and Cruising with Jane McDonald. It has recently scored its first original production for a third-party channel – producing a factual series for ITV with details to come.
VIS UK’s General Manager Joe McLusky, and Creative Director Ed Taylor will now report to Offman, who as international brand head for both Comedy Central and Paramount Network already has oversight of comedy and drama productions for Viacom out of the UK. Offman is funding a number of scripted development projects with UK independent producers including a re-make of Bergerac from Artist Studios and a TV treatment of Amanda Craig’s novel Lie of the Land from Baby Cow.
Laura Abril has been appointed to lead a planned VIS expansion across western and southern Europe, the Middle East and Africa (MENA). She is based in Madrid.
David Lynn, CEO, Viacom International Media Networks, said, “Broadcasters and streamers are in a global ‘arms race’ for the best content, which represents a significant growth opportunity for Viacom with our international studio capacity and in-built creative expertise, exemplified by Jill, Laura and Federico. As our competitors become more vertically integrated, Viacom is free to forge much deeper partnerships with all kinds of distributors internationally and for all types of content.”