NENT UK CEO Steps Down; Discovery Beefs Up UK Slate; NBCU’s Monkey Makes LA Hire – Global Briefs
Jakob Mejlhede Andersen has stepped down as CEO of Nordic Entertainment Group’s UK division. Mejlhede Andersen was appointed to the role in October 2019, having joined from his role as EVP and Chief Content Officer for NENT Group’s Viaplay streaming service. The company is now searching for a new chief executive. Anders Jensen, NENT Group President and CEO, said Mejlhede Andersen made an “outstanding contribution” to building streamer Viaplay. “We premiered our first original less than four years ago and we will premiere at least 30 series in 2020, many of which have been sold internationally. Jakob has been instrumental in the success of this strategy. I want to thank him for his commitment, engagement and ability to consistently commission and acquire great content for our channels and services.” Mejlhede Andersen added, “I have enjoyed every second working with my amazing friends and colleagues at NENT Group. We have built something truly special in Viaplay and I feel very proud of what we have achieved together. Now I have decided to take a new step forward in my career and I am excited about what lies ahead.”
A reality series starring members of Irish pop group The Nolans is to lead Discovery’s latest UK slate. The factual broadcaster has boosted investment in its lifestyle and entertainment channels with three new commissions. The Nolans in the Mood for Cruising (w/t) is an eight-part series, produced by Koska for Quest Red, that follows Coleen, Linda, Maureen and Anne Nolan as they go on their first shared trip and first singing reunion, in decades. Cash in the Spare Room is a ten-part series produced by Glasgow based Friel Kean Films for HGTV that follows Money For Nothing’s Sarah Moore and George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces’ Max McMurdo as they help people attempt to turn unused spaces in their homes into lucrative holiday lets. Clear Out Cash In (w/t) is a ten-part series, produced by STV Productions for Really, that follows Yorkshire auctioneer Angus Ashworth and his team as they clear out houses packed full of trinkets, treasure and junk – transforming former family homes to empty shells, ready for sale. The series were ordered by Clare Laycock, SVP, Head of Lifestyle and Entertainment Brands at Discovery UK and Ireland and Charlotte Reid is Head of Commissioning for L&E channels.
NBCUniversal International Studios’ production company Monkey has promoted Ollie Brack to Head of Alternative Programming, based in LA. Brack, who co-created hybrid reality-quiz show The Question Jury for Channel 4 and ITV2 hip-hop comedy show Don’t Hate the Playaz, has been tasked with building its relationships in the U.S. with NBC, cable networks Bravo and E!, new streaming service Peacock, and studios Universal Television Alternative Studio and NBCUniversal Formats. He will report to Managing Director, Samantha Lawrence and Creative Directors, Will Macdonald and David Granger. Brack, who was previously exec producer, joined Monkey from Talkback Thames, where he worked on entertainment, comedy and scripted programming. Lawrence said, “This move demonstrates our hunger and ambition to further establish ourselves within the U.S. market, and to create more ambitious talent-led shows and globally appealing formats.”
AMC Networks streaming service Sundance Now has acquired the U.S. rights to Australian drama The Secrets She Keeps from DCD Rights. The Lingo Pictures Production for Network Ten is based on the novel by Michael Robotham and tells the story of two women with explosive secrets that could destroy their lives. It stars Laura Carmichael (Downton Abbey), Jessica de Gouw (The Crown), and Michael Dorman (Patriot). “With its suspenseful, dark and twisty script and a stellar cast led by Laura Carmichael and Jessica de Gouw, The Secrets She Keeps is sure to be another can’t-miss drama for our subscribers,” said Shannon Cooper, VP of programming for Sundance Now.