Discovery Channel is bolstering its presence in New York with the formation of a production and development unit headed by VPs of development and production Matthew Kelly (pictured, left) and Michael Sorensen (right), who will oversee unscripted series for the division.
Kelly and Sorensen – who currently work in the company’s Silver Spring, MD headquarters – are to join former HBO exec John Hoffman, who joined Discovery earlier this month as its executive VP of documentaries and specials, based out of New York. Despite the move, however, the two execs will be reporting to Denise Contis, EVP of production and development at the net, who is based in LA.
Other Discovery Channel development and production execs and team members will continue to be based in LA and Silver Spring.
Kelly is responsible for bringing series and specials to Discovery Channel and also supervises the development and production of new concepts. His credits include Gold Rush, Edge of Alaska, Yukon Men and Amish Mafia. Previously, Kelly served as director of development at Science Channel, where he worked on such programs as Oddities and How the Universe Works, among others.
Meanwhile, Sorensen – who is also a VP of development and production – oversees the writers, producers and talent for programming and also supervises the development and production of new concepts. The exec’s credits include programming for ‘Shark Week,’ as well as series and specials such as Vegas Rat Rods, Fat N’ Furious and Skyscraper Live with Nik Wallenda. Prior to his current position, Sorensen led the creative team at Science Channel and also worked in the television alternative department at LA’s Creative Artists Agency.
“As Discovery Channel creates and delivers more programming to more viewers across all platforms, having a robust development and production team in New York is a crucial and necessary move,” said Rich Ross, president of Discovery Channel, in a statement. “With a larger New York presence, Discovery will be positioned to explore the most opportunities available to develop inventive, high-quality programming.”