Extra: ITN hires new head of production; Tegna partners with Law&Crime, Cineflix

ITN names Nicki Purcell head of production ITN Productions has tapped industry veteran Nicki Purcell to be its new head of production. In her new position, Purcell (pictured) will work with ITN ...
November 10, 2021

ITN names Nicki Purcell head of production

ITN Productions has tapped industry veteran Nicki Purcell to be its new head of production.

In her new position, Purcell (pictured) will work with ITN Productions’ teams to provide logistical, commercial and strategic direction. She will report directly to Ian Rumsey, managing director of television.

Purcell joins ITN from Crackit Productions, where she worked as head of production. After joining Crackit in 2013, she worked across all aspects of the business, from development to delivery to international distribution, managing an extensive catalogue and slate. Purcell has also held a number of senior production roles in her 25-year career, working with a number of respected production companies.

“Nicki brings the ideal mix of experience, skill and strategic thinking. She’s going to be a real asset to the team and I’m looking forward to working with her,” said Rumsey in a release.

Added Purcell: “The breadth and quality of programming coming from ITN Productions is inspiring, and a testament to the talented production team there — I feel privileged to become a part of them.”

Tegna teams with Law&Crime, Cineflix on slate of true crime docuseries

Tegna is partnering with Dan Abrams’ prodco Law&Crime Productions and UK indie distributor Cineflix Rights to co-produce several original docuseries by leveraging Tegna’s library of true crime and investigative content for a global market.

The deal will kick off with Tegna’s Vault Studios, Law&Crime and Cineflix teaming on the production of 50 hour-long episodes of content, beginning with the new 10-episode series Cult Justice, which explores the allure of cults. The series will be led by executive producers and showrunners Brian Ross and Rhonda Schwartz, who will also lead all 50 true crime episodes included in the agreement. Abrams, Rachel Stockman, John Ford, head of programming for Tegna’s Quest and True Crime Network, and Felicia Litovitz, VP of acquisitions, North America for Cineflix Rights, will also serve as executive producers on the series.

Vault Studios and Law&Crime will also collaborate on a new podcast series based on the popular series Killer Cases, which currently airs on A&E and True Crime Network.

“The partnership with Law&Crime and Cineflix Rights solidifies Tegna’s position as a player in original true crime programming,” said Brian Weiss, vice president, entertainment programming and multicast networks for Tegna in a release. “Along with the success of True Crime Network, the growth of Vault Studios, and treasure trove of stories in our expansive content library, this deal reinforces our role as a future leader in the unscripted entertainment content space.”

Beyond Rights names Sarah Bickley as SVP of sales

Global distributor Beyond Rights is expanding its sales team by hiring experienced executive Sarah Bickley as SVP sales.

In the role, Bickley will be responsible for both the Nordics region as well as the digital exploitation of the company’s catalogue, with an initial focus on expanding Beyond’s business with AVOD platforms.

Bickley joins Beyond from Tin Roof Media, where she handled distribution operations for Blink Films and Outline Productions, including securing deficit funding for unscripted content. Prior to that, Bickley spent more than 15 years at Hat Trick International, selling scripted, factual and formats to a number of territories including Scandinavia, France, the U.S. and Canada, as well as to global SVOD platforms.

“We are delighted to welcome Sarah to the team. She brings such fantastic depth and breadth of experience, derived from working with both distributors and producers, so will undoubtedly prove to be a real asset as we continue to expand the Beyond Rights business,” said Beyond Rights CEO Kate Lewellyn-Jones in a release. “We are especially pleased to now have a senior executive who can really focus on the increasing digital opportunities for our catalogue. We are already growing this area of our business, but Sarah will quickly help us take it to the next level, making sure all our IP is fully optimized.”

Banijay relaunching MasterChef NZ

Banijay has confirmed the return of Masterchef NZ following a six-year hiatus.

The announcement comes after Screentime New Zealand, a Banijay company, struck a deal with Discovery, with the support of Banijay Rights, to see MasterChef NZ launch on Discovery’s Three channel in 2022.

The hit MasterChef format is produced across 64 markets and has broadcast more than 10,000 episodes to date. Created by Franc Roddam, the brand is known around the world. The MasterChef format and finished programs are represented internationally by Banijay Rights.

“To bring a global phenomenon like MasterChef back to New Zealand after a six-year absence is an absolute thrill, and with Screentime and Discovery’s Three at the helm, we’re in no doubt this will be a very exciting launch for 2022,” said Lucas Green, global head of content operations at Banijay, in a statement.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.