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Veteran news producer James F. Blue III to helm Smithsonian Channel

MTV Entertainment Group (formerly Entertainment and Youth), a division of ViacomCBS, has appointed PBS NewsHour and former Nightline producer James F. Blue III as SVP and head of Smithsonian Channel.  Blue (pictured) will work closely alongside ...
December 18, 2020

MTV Entertainment Group (formerly Entertainment and Youth), a division of ViacomCBS, has appointed PBS NewsHour and former Nightline producer James F. Blue III as SVP and head of Smithsonian Channel. 

Blue (pictured) will work closely alongside the Smithsonian Institution in an effort to expand and diversify Smithsonian Channel’s content slate. He will additionally be responsible for supporting the Institution’s efforts to engage, inspire and educate.

The Emmy, Peabody and Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia Award winning executive will also have oversight of all factual and unscripted content for MTV Entertainment’s portfolio of brands across streaming, linear and digital.

He will jointly report into Chris McCarthy, president of MTV Entertainment (MTVE) Group; and Nina L. Diaz, president of content and chief creative officer.

“Smithsonian is a world-class brand rich with treasures from our shared American experience,” said McCarthy in a statement. “James is an exceptionally talented executive and incredible storyteller who will bring those iconic treasures and experiences to life across all of our platforms.”

Most recently, Blue was the special projects and senior producer of ​PBS NewsHour, where he managed specials and served as the executive producer’s primary deputy for the daily broadcast. He also managed several NewsHour reporting initiatives, including “Searching for Justice” to “Race Matters” to “Chasing the Dream.”

Prior to this, Blue served as an executive producer for BET Networks during the 2012 U.S. election cycle where he conducted exclusive interviews with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, as well as extensive coverage of Republican nominee, Mitt Romney.

Blue also held various senior titles with the Koppel Group at the Discovery Channel; ABC News, including nine years at Nightline; and NBC News.

“I look forward to leveraging my expertise and experience to help shape and implement MTV Entertainment’s strategic vision for Smithsonian and other news, factual and non-fiction content across, and even beyond, the Group’s platforms,” noted Blue.

“James’ illustrious storytelling skills make him the perfect fit to lead this next chapter of the Smithsonian Channel,” added Diaz. “With endless material to unleash, I can’t wait to see his unique vision for this storied brand come to life.”

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