People Moves: HGTV adds to programming, scheduling teams; IWC names factual head

Sara Burns, Liz Brach join HGTV  Discovery-owned home improvement cable network HGTV has bolstered its programming and scheduling team with the appointments of Sara Burns and Liz Brach. Burns (pictured, left) has been named SVP ...
September 4, 2019

Sara Burns, Liz Brach join HGTV 

Discovery-owned home improvement cable network HGTV has bolstered its programming and scheduling team with the appointments of Sara Burns and Liz Brach.

Burns (pictured, left) has been named SVP of scheduling and program strategy at HGTV and is tasked with leading the channel’s long-term program planning for such hit series as Property Brothers: Forever Home, Flip or Flop, Christina on the Coast, My Lottery Dream Home and A Very Brady Renovation.

Based in New York, Burns will report into Julie Taylor, SVP of U.S. scheduling and program strategy.

She joins the network from Discovery sister network Investigation Discovery where she was VP of programming, and was part of the team to launch ID after rebranding it from Discovery Times Channel in 2008. Previously, she served as director of programming and manager of programming for both ID and Military Channel.

Brach (right), meanwhile, joins HGTV as senior director of programming with responsibility for developing and overseeing series and specials. She will also be based in New York and reports directly to Betsy Sanner Ayala, SVP of programming and development.

Brach joins HGTV from Kiwi production outfit NHNZ where she most recently served as VP of production and development for NHNZ’s U.S. clients, including Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, National Geographic and PBS. Prior to NHNZ, she was senior director of development and programming for Discovery Networks International where she oversaw development and production of global series and specials, including the award-winning Rise of the Warrior Apes.

Before that, she was VP of production and development at Discovery Channel U.S. where she oversaw such series as Deadliest Catch, MythBusters and Dirty Jobs.

Pauline Law appointed head of factual for IWC

Former BBC Scotland executive Pauline Law has joined IWC, a Banijay Group company, as head of factual.

In the role, Law will be responsible for driving the studio’s factual programming output from the company’s offices in Glasgow. She will report into and work closely with creative director Mark Downie to build on such productions as Susan Calman’s Secret Scotland a The Importance of Being Oscar.

“The fantastic range of programs she has created and made makes her an ideal hire for our Glasgow office, at a time where there are numerous, exciting opportunities for program making outside of London,” said Downie, in a statement.

Most recently, Law served as head of multi-platform production at BBC Scotland. There, she was responsible leading a development team that won more than 80 new commissions, including Emeli Sande’s Street Symphony and Susan Calman’s Fringe Benefits.

Prior to this, Law served as an executive producer for BBC Scotland Factual and BBC Studios Pacific Quay Productions, delivering on such arts and music series as The Marvellous World of Roald Dahl and Billy Connolly: Portrait of a Lifetime.

Endemol Shine Nordics bolsters exec team

Endemol Shine Group has fortified the senior management teams at two of its production companies within the Endemol Shine Nordics banner.

Swedish label Meter Television has elevated deputy managing director Madelene Hansson to the position of managing director, replacing Björn Persson who has decided to leave Endemol Shine.

“I’m proud of what we have achieved these past 7 years as MD of Meter and I feel like now is the right moment to hand over the reins and look to new opportunities,” said Persson in a statement. “While I’m of course sad to be leaving, I know I leave Meter in very capable hands with Madelene at the helm and wish her and the entire team all the best on this next adventure.”

Persson has been leading Meter since 2013 and will stay on to ensure a smooth transition for Hansson when she steps into the role on Oct. 1.

Elsewhere, Splay One executive Christina Parker is to join Norwegian outfit Rubicon TV as managing director, effective Dec. 1.

Parker has served as country manager for Norway at branded entertainment firm Splay One since June 2018.

Fred Media appoints European sales boss

Melbourne-based distributor Fred Media, the sales arm of indie producer WTFN Entertainment, has named former TCB Media Rights and Global Agency exec Mem Bakar as head of European sales.

As head of European sales, Bakar will be tasked with spearheading sales into the UK and Western Europe. She will be based in Fred’s London offices.

Bakar began her career at Australia’s World Wide Entertainment before relocating to Europe where she found work with Istanbul’s Global Agency and London’s TCB Media Rights.

“I know Mem is a great asset for the Fred team. She has extensive experience working in many territories, and has spent the past eight years working in Europe,” said Fred COO Roger Vanderspikken, in a statement. “That experience and her contacts will be invaluable as our catalog of premium factual and lifestyle content grows.”

Fred Media will bring more than 25 new programs to France’s forthcoming MIPCOM market, including WTFN’s new hospital ob-doc Emergency, as well as a raft of long-form lifestyle series from U.S. producer Tastemade.

Ros Ali boards Flame Distribution

Former Earth Touch and Library Media Solutions executive Ros Ali has boarded Australian sales house Flame Distribution as VP of content sales for the UK, Europe and Africa.

Based in London, she reports into Fiona Gilroy, Flame’s content sales and acquisitions director.

Ali will be attending October’s MIPCOM market in Cannes as part of the Flame Distribution sales team representing the company’s catalog of factual content.

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