NBC Universal International expanded its production presence in London this week by naming Alan Brown, former senior commissioner of entertainment at BBC, as head of its new factual entertainment division and the newly-launched, bespoke production arm Chocolate Media.
Created by Brown, the new label will produce factual and entertainment programming for the United Kingdom. While at BBC, he commissioned the first seasons of hit reality formats The Apprentice and Dragons’ Den, was on the team that started Strictly Come Dancing and ran Never Mind The Buzzcocks.
‘What really drew me to NBCU was the prospect of building an entirely new production brand,’ Brown said in a statement. ‘Chocolate Media will be a true representation of my taste and the types of shows I love to make, and I plan to expand it into a strong brand for NBC Universal encompassing all forms of features, factual and factual entertainment.’
NBC Universal International also announced that Mario Stylianides, former head of comedy at Hat Trick, will head its comedy division. The new appointments follow last month’s acquisition of British comedy/factual entertainment prodco Monkey Kingdom.
Brown and Stylianides will be tasked with seeking out and developing new entertainment properties for the UK market that will have global appeal, as well as forging talent deals and generating new, non-scripted ideas to augment NBC Universal International’s format business.
‘Attracting executives of Alan and Mario’s calibre speaks to how we are building NBC Universal into a ‘first stop’ destination for the UK’s top creative talent,’ said Gareth Neame, NBCU International’s managing director for the UK. ‘Our UK strategy lies in organic growth driven by local expertise, and the UK is home to one of the world’s best talent pools for production. It is a real coup to have both Alan and Mario join the team.’
‘The UK represents an important global market for NBC Universal,’ added Michael Edelstein, president, international television production. ‘As such, it was critical to put in place the proper building blocks for our future growth. In Gareth, Alan and Mario we have three of the best creative minds and experienced producers in the business. I am confident that NBC Universal will now become a leading destination for top creative talent, and that our new production brands will deliver innovative content for the UK and the rest of the world.’