UPDATED: FEB. 8/20 WITH NEWS OF STAFF DEPARTURES AT EPI
Discovery Canada in-house production company Exploration Production Inc. (EPI) has been folded into Bell Media Studios.
The news was internally announced today in a letter from Karine Moses – who was promoted to SVP, content development and news last month – addressed to Bell Media’s “valued production partners,” and obtained by Realscreen sister publication Playback Daily.
“As part of our production program moving forward, Discovery Canada’s in-house production company, Exploration Production Inc. (EPI), is consolidating with Bell Media Studios,” read the letter. “Led by experienced and respected industry leaders Justin Stockman, Pat DiVittorio, Suzane Landry and Dave Daigle, our teams will work hand in hand with you to build on Bell Media’s track record of top-notch programming in English and French, with a focus on ground-breaking new content and the development of our quality in-house productions.”
The in-house unit produced original Discovery Canada programming such as Daily Planet, Disasters at Sea and Mighty Trains (pictured). Bell Media has not returned a request for comment on how many positions are impacted by the consolidation.
At least two senior staff members are leaving Bell Media as it folds Discovery Canada in-house production company Exploration Production Inc. (EPI) into Bell Media Studios.
Playback has learned that Kelly McKeown, director of production at EPI, and Tony Leadman, who led the unit’s distribution division Exploration Distribution Inc. (EDI), are departing as part of the ongoing layoffs at Bell Media.
Discovery Canada general manager Edwina Follows was among the executives laid off on Jan. 20, the second round of a series of layoffs that began on Jan. 5 at Bell Media.
The news comes amid a third wave of cuts. Among the confirmed departures at Bell Media this week were Tom Hastings, director, original programming, drama and Robin Johnston, director, original programming, factual and reality. An estimated 210 employees were laid off on Tuesday (Feb. 2), largely in TV and radio news divisions.
A spokeperson for Bell told Playback Daily that Bell Media is finalizing its structure to move forward with an investment-focused “refreshed media strategy.”
In the letter to production partners, Moses says Bell Media is committed to “quality programming” and “dedicated to promoting home-grown talent, both on screen and behind the scenes.”
“The outstanding content that we create here in Canada with our production partners will increasingly distinguish us from our competitors. Canada has a wealth of talented writers, actors, producers and other creators, and tapping into those resources is key to the continued success of Bell Media,” it reads.
From Playback Daily’s Kelly Townsend