The BBC has promoted Emma Swain (pictured) to controller of Knowledge commissioning, charged with devising and leading the factual strategy for the UK public broadcaster and taking over the role vacated by George Entwistle’s promotion.
Swain had been serving as acting controller of Knowledge commissioning since February, following Entwistle’s promotion to director of BBC Vision. In her new role, Swain will retain responsibility for overseeing the eight-strong team that commissions 1,600 hours of factual TV, while also gaining strategic overview of Knowledge commissioning across all four BBC channels.
Entwistle described Swain as being “one of the foremost creative leaders in factual television in the UK,” adding that she was “passionate about programming, courageous in the way she embraces new ideas and respected by in-house producers and independents alike.”
Swain added: “The BBC produces the best factual programs in the world and it’s a great privilege to be given this role, with responsibility for maintaining the high standards and quality of Knowledge output that our viewers have come to expect.”
Prior to her promotion, Swain was head of Knowledge TV commissioning, overseeing content from both BBC in-house and the independent sector.
Swain’s former role will not be filled; instead, a number of Entwistle’s former responsibilities have been redistributed to other team members.
In part, this comes as Knowledge’s online commissioning has been affected by the BBC’s overarching cuts and reorganization, which among other things saw the scrapping of dedicated multi-platform commissioners and the departure of Nick Cohen, who left the public broadcaster to join a UK media agency, as previously reported.
Saul Nassé has now been tasked with taking responsibility for Knowledge’s online commissioning, in a move the Corporation said reflects BBC Learning’s responsibility for the new integrated Knowledge & Learning online product.
Nassé is effectively taking over from Entwistle as portfolio head for the Knowledge & Learning Online Product, a job he will do alongside his continuing role as controller of Learning.
In these roles, Nassé will now report to Roly Keating, director of archive and overseer of Vision’s online lead. Nassé will work closely with Swain and her team of commissioners to ensure that commissions from the Learning slate continue to reflect both Knowledge and Learning strategies.