BBC Studios’ (BBCS) world-renowned Natural History Unit is to open a satellite office in Los Angeles in response to the global boom in wildlife and natural history programming.
The U.S. team will “offer around the clock service to the growing number of American buyers” with responsibility for growing the NHU’s network of relationships throughout America.
Los Angeles-based staffers will also be tasked with pursuing new digital opportunities in the natural history space and forging partnerships with on- and off-screen talent.
The move will mark the first time in the NHU’s 63-year history that a team is permanently based outside of the UK. Los Angeles will report into the NHU headquarters in Bristol and will work closely alongside the British senior creative team.
The award-winning Natural History Unit currently has more than 25 projects in production, with forthcoming titles including The Green Planet (BBC / PBS), Frozen Planet II (BBC / BBC America), Endangered (Discovery), and The New World (NBCUniversal).
In the past 18 months, the unit’s U.S. footprint has grown with new projects commissioned for a range of broadcasters and platforms, including Apple TV, BBC America, Discovery, National Geographic, NBCUniversal and PBS.
“There has never been a more important time to be making films about the natural world. The Natural History Unit’s programs are synonymous with quality across the globe,” said Tom McDonald, director of factual at BBC Studios, in a statement. “Our work for the BBC in the UK and our coproduction partners worldwide continues to be of vital importance to the NHU, but this expansion in the U.S. will allow us to strengthen our U.S. relationships, forge partnerships with new platforms, and expand our network of makers, scientists and talent. This is a really significant moment in the NHU’s history.”
“Natural history is a global business, with a global reach so it makes perfect sense that NHU’s first move out of the UK should be L.A.,” added Julian Hector, head of BBC Studios Natural History Unit. “Across the UK and U.S., we will define leading-edge wildlife storytelling craft with the calibre of A-List on- and off-screen talent to make content with purpose leading to endless possibilities for our audiences, clients and for the natural world.”