ITV Studios Entertainment has been rebranded to Lifted Entertainment, and alongside its new name comes a new executive with Lee McNicholas joining as creative director, north.
McNicholas (pictured) will work with Lifted’s executive team including Angela Jain, managing director; director of entertainment Richard Cowles; creative directors Tom Gould and Fiona Clark; and Kat Hebden, head of development.
As creative director, north, McNicholas will create and lead production and development to drive commissions.
He will be based out of the company’s northern base in MediaCityUK, located in Greater Manchester, from which it produces a range of returning shows including Judge Rinder (ITV), University Challenge (BBC Two) and Countdown (Channel 4). Last year, the team also produced the documentary Miscarriage: Our Story (Channel 5).
McNicholas arrives from Syco Entertainment where he has spent the last 10 years as creative director and executive producer. Prior to Syco, he worked across a variety of shows including Channel 4′s How Clean is Your House and the BBC’s The Apprentice.
As the label enters its new era, Lifted Entertainment has also been commissioned to produce Secret Gameshow, a new primetime pilot for ITV hosted by comedian and The Masked Singer presenter Joel Dommett.
Using a hidden camera format, celebrities compete for bragging rights as they take on stunts to fool unsuspecting members of the public into helping them. For the celebrities, it’s a chance to get one over on each other. For the public, it’s a chance to win money in a gameshow they didn’t know they were part of.
“With hope around the corner, it seems like we all need to be lifted out of our real lives at the moment. So many of the shows we produce bring joy and escapism, something I believe Secret Gameshow has in abundance,” Jain said in a statement. “This past year has given us all the opportunity to focus our minds on the future in what has been a 12 months like no other. We responded to those challenges with creativity, determination, resilience and ability, producing throughout lockdown, something we could not have done without our incredible people. Now the future is about more of these award-winning, returnable global brands and we are excited about the world of opportunity out there.”
Secret Gameshow joins a slate that includes formats Love Island and I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! – both created by Lifted Entertainment – having been commissioned in 30 international markets between them.
As for McNicholas joining the team, Jain was equally effusive.
“Lee brings a wealth of experience and expertise on huge global entertainment shows which, when added to the depth of the brilliant creative team we have here in Manchester, means he is in the perfect position to spearhead the next phase of growth in the North,” she added. “I have no doubt he will be an inspiring, generous and kind leader who shares our values and vision for the future.”