Silberwasser, Bellamy departing from Discovery Networks Int’l

Discovery Networks International's creative director Julian Bellamy (right) and chief content officer Luis Silberwasser (left) are both leaving the company, with the former becoming MD of ITV Studios UK, and the latter departing for an as-yet-unannounced new opportunity.
April 24, 2014

Discovery Networks International (DNI) chief content officer Luis Silberwasser is leaving the company to pursue a new opportunity, while Julian Bellamy – most recently DNI’s creative director and head of production and commissioning – is joining ITV Studios UK later this year as managing director.

Silberwasser’s departure has not been officially announced by the company but was revealed via an internal memo from recently appointed DNI president JB Perrette. Details on where Silberwasser may be headed next professionally were not provided within the memo, but Perrette said the 16-year Discovery veteran would be returning to Miami.

Silberwasser, who served as executive VP and chief content officer, hired Bellamy in 2011 in a move to solidify the company’s global content initiatives through international commissioning teams collaborating both with Discovery’s U.S. development teams and independent and global production partners in London and other countries.

In his internal memo to staff, Perrette said the company is now creating a new role – that of chief creative officer. It is understood that this role will both integrate the functions performed by Silberwasser and Bellamy while also placing a focus on attracting top international creative talent to DNI. The hunt for the chief creative officer will take place both internally and externally. Rosemary Newell, VP of programming and content operations for the company, will serve as the interim head of the DNI Content Group, Perrette said.

“Over the last three years under the leadership of chief content officer, Luis Silberwasser, and the direction of head of production & development, Julian Bellamy, DNI’s content teams demonstrated more collaboration and a higher level of global programming initiatives,” Perrette stated in the memo. “They have put DNI on the map as a generator of some of the best high-quality programming the company has produced.”

The company has also been active on the acquisitions front since 2011, acquiring UK prodcos Betty in 2011 and Raw TV earlier this year.

At ITV Studios UK, Bellamy will be succeeding Denise O’Donoghue, who recently announced her plans to step down from the MD role by end of this year. With this move, he’ll rejoin former Channel 4 colleague and ITV Studios managing director Kevin Lygo, who called Bellamy “an exceptional talent who combines outstanding creativity with excellent strategic leadership” in a statement.

“I have had a brilliant time at Discovery, but to run one of the UK’s most successful production operations is too rare an opportunity to pass up,” said Bellamy in his own statement.

At DNI, Bellamy oversaw production and development across 200 countries, as well as commissioning teams in five key international bases. He served as head of Channel 4 from May 2007 to October 2010, managing more than 2,000 hours of original programming a year, including such hits as Undercover Boss, Big Fat Gypsy Wedding and One Born Every Minute.

Prior to C4, Bellamy was channel controller for BBC3, before which he served as head of E4 and, before that, as C4′s head of factual entertainment.

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