Former Netflix Unscripted Exec Rob Smith To Head BBC Studios’ LA-Based Production Division

Rob Smith
BBC Studios

BBC Studios has hired former Netflix exec Rob Smith to head up its LA-based production division.

The Good Omens and Doctor Who producer has appointed Smith as General Manager after his predecessor Matt Forde relocated to London to assume the role of Managing Director, International Production & Formats, as revealed by Deadline in October.

Smith was formerly Director, Unscripted at the SVOD service and before that was Head of Unscripted Television at Endemol Shine. Reporting to Forde, he will be responsible for overseeing all creative and business aspects of the division, in addition to leading the team in developing new BBC Studios production activities. He will also collaborate with the UK production team, and BBC Studios-backed UK independent producers, on a format strategy – utilizing existing and new programs – for the U.S. market.

During his time at Endemol Shine, he oversaw shows including Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Deal or No Deal, and Wipeout.

BBC Studios LA produces series including Dancing with the Stars for ABC and dramas including The Night Of for HBO.

Separately, the company has promoted Valerie Bruce promoted to Executive Vice President, Commercial Director, and Debby Reid Vigna to Executive Vice President, Production. Smith’s executive team will include Bruce and Vigna as well as creative heads Ryan O’Dowd, Senior Vice President, Entertainment Development, and Travis Shakespeare, Senior Vice President, Unscripted Programming.

“Rob’s extensive experience in overseeing production and commercial exploitation across multiple formats perfectly aligns with our ambitions, and I know the Los Angeles team and business will thrive under his leadership,” said Forde. “Both individually and collaboratively, Valerie and Debby have brought expertise, creative strength, and finesse to their roles throughout their years at BBC Studios. It has been my fortune to have these talented executives on my team and I’m certain their invaluable contributions will continue to play an integral part in the growth and success of our production business.”

Smith added, “I am excited to join such a prestigious company and look forward to following the BBC’s proud legacy of creating quality entertainment. The promotions of Debby and Valerie, and the continued great work of Ryan, Travis, and the stellar team in LA sets us up for true success. I’m looking forward to working with them, as well as the incredible BBC Studios team in the UK and around the world, to support the global business.”

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