Formats

Thames launches new fact-ent label Upstream, taps Neale Simpson as CD

Big-shiny-floor format specialist Thames, a Fremantle label, is launching a new factual entertainment arm, Upstream, to be headed by Neale Simpson as creative director. The new label is intended to help Thames ...
July 7, 2022

Big-shiny-floor format specialist Thames, a Fremantle label, is launching a new factual entertainment arm, Upstream, to be headed by Neale Simpson as creative director.

The new label is intended to help Thames further expand and diversify its already stacked factual entertainment slate, which includes such juggernauts as the competition series Britain’s Got Talent and The X Factor (ITV), singing game show I Can See Your Voice (BBC One), dating contest Too Hot to Handle (Netflix), and “anti-dating” show Eating with My Ex (BBC Three). Upstream will also look to grow the Thames client base and extend its footprint into other reality genres.

Simpson (pictured), Upstream’s newly appointed creative director, arrives at Thames following more than a decade at Banijay’s RDF Television. Beginning as an entertainment development exec, he quickly became head of entertainment development, and in 2015 was tapped as the creative director for the RDF label Fizz, a position he held until the move to Upstream.

Over the course of his tenure at RDF/Fizz, he led development and operations, and executive produced titles across both labels, including The Tipping Point (ITV), Lightning (BBC Two), Shipwrecked (E4), Fight Dirty (BBC Three), Craig & Bruno’s Great British Drives (ITV), and The Crystal Maze for Channel 4 in the UK and Nickelodeon in the U.S.

Simpson also worked as a development producer for All3Media International and Lion Television prior to his time at RDF.

“Neale is a creative force, and we’re delighted that someone with his talent has joined Thames,” Thames managing director Amelia Brown said. “He will be a huge asset to us and our brand-new label, Upstream, as we look to diversify and produce formats across multiple genres.”

Simpson added: “Thames produces the biggest and best entertainment shows on British television, combined with an enviably rich slate of much-loved brands. The launch of Upstream presents a fantastic opportunity to join Amelia and the immensely talented team at Thames, with a shared ambition to create feel-good formats that aim to put a smile on people’s faces.”

About The Author
Justin Anderson joined Realscreen as senior staff writer in 2021, reporting and writing stories for the newsletter and magazine. During his 20-year career he’s filled a variety of roles as a writer and editor at a number of media organizations, covering news and current affairs as well as business, tech, the film and music industries and plenty in between. He’s also spent time behind the scenes in television production, having written everything from voiceover scripts for documentaries to marketing copy. He has a degree in Journalism from Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University).

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