Former BBC England exec Peter Salmon has been named the inaugural director of the pubcaster’s production division, BBC Studios.
Following a 2014 announcement that the pubcaster would separate TV production from TV commissioning in a bid to boost creativity and competition, BBC director-general Tony Hall in March revealed plans for BBC Studios, outlining that the independent production division will allow in-house producers to create programming for rival networks, and potentially reduce production quotas.
According to a release issued by the pubcaster today (July 20), BBC Studios will initially be created in the public service, but will in the long-term work with the BBC Trust “to explore whether it should become a wholly owned subsidiary of the corporation and create programming for other broadcasters as well, in return for abolishing the current guarantee that 50% of BBC programs are made by in-house production.”
Salmon currently serves as the BBC’s director for England, and will become the first director of BBC Studios later this year. Appointed director of BBC North at the end of 2008, Salmon launched the BBC’s second-largest UK production centre in Salford, and since May 2014 he has also been tasked with forming local partnerships across England, focusing on Birmingham and Bristol.
In his new role, Salmon is to work closely with the BBC’s director of television, Danny Cohen, and the BBC’s directors in the nations “to decide the right structure, leadership team and remit for BBC Studios.”
The exec’s production credits include such programs as Crimewatch UK and Nature for BBC Bristol. He also served as controller of BBC1 and BBC Sport and worked as chief creative officer for BBC Vision Productions, in addition to helming the prodco, The Television Company.
Following Salmon’s appointment, Helen Boaden is to oversee BBC England, in addition to her other duties. The pubcaster has indicated there will be no additional executive posts or salary changes.
“I’m confident that Peter will bring all the energy and creativity he’s shown at BBC England to this job,” said director-general Tony Hall in a statement. “He’s got a great track-record as a program maker and a creative leader and I believe he’s the right person to help shape and mould BBC Studios. I’ve now asked him to work closely with the rest of the BBC to ensure Studios draws on talent from across the corporation.”
Salmon added: “This is a great opportunity to build a new model for BBC Production and work with some of the best people in the business. Our in-house teams across the UK are responsible for some of the most popular and high-quality television in the world.
“Programs like Strictly [Come Dancing], Doctor Who, Luther and Frozen Planet show that they can compete with producers anywhere and I want to build on that success,” the exec continued. “I’ve loved my time starting a successful creative community at BBC North in Salford and then with the BBC England team but this was too important an opportunity to pass over.”