BBC Studios to launch in Oz with ‘Stargazing Live 2’ and to hire a head of production

Stargazing Live

The BBC is looking to appoint a director of production for BBC Studios in Australia, which will launch on April 1 as part of the global merger of BBC Worldwide and BBC Studios.

The multi-platform event Stargazing Live 2 will be the first commission for BBC Studios for the ABC, produced by a team from the BBC Studios’ UK science unit led by executive producer Helen Thomas and series producer Paul King.

FremantleMedia Australia produced the first Stargazing Live in April, hosted by Professor Brian Cox and Julia Zemiro.  There is no word yet on the hosts or telecast dates of part 2.

ABC head of factual Steve Bibb said: “Stripped over three nights, Stargazing Live was a new kind of event programming for ABC in 2017. It reached an incredible number of Australians right across all our platforms and on social media. Our viewers even discovered a new solar system in a major citizen science project. ABC is thrilled to be working closely with BBC Studios to make Stargazing Live an even bigger and more exciting event this year.”

The Mission Bay executive search company is on the hunt for the director of production, who will report to the international production division which, from April, will be led Anna Mallett, MD, production and chief operating officer, BBC Studios.

The role will also form part of the Australia-New Zealand executive management team led by MD Jon Penn. The remit will include managing the growth of television production in Australia, building creative partnerships between BBC Studios’ editorial teams in the UK and Australian broadcasters, driving the creation of new intellectual property and exploiting BBC Worldwide’s extensive format catalogue.

The BBC announced plans to merge the two entities into a single commercial organisation last year, bringing its program production, sales and distribution together under one roof. BBCWW’s commercial activities include content financing, sales and international commercial channels. The restructure followed the decision to relax production quotas and run the BBC’s in-house production as a commercial business.

Mallett said: “This commission with ABC is an exciting first step for BBC Studios production in Australia and we look forward to more collaboration as we bring our editorial creativity to new audiences.”

Penn added: “The new BBC Studios has got off to a great start in Australia with the Stargazing Live 2 commission and this new role will spearhead the growth of our Australian production arm. We’re looking forward to producing more of our own formats and programs for local clients, who already broadcast many of the quality shows that our expert BBC production colleagues make.”

BBC Studios makes more than 2,000 hours of programming each year across all genres including Strictly Come Dancing, Doctor Who, Top Gear and Blue Planet 2.  BBCWW formats’ catalogue features long-running BBC shows including Antiques Roadshow, DIY SOS, Bargain Hunt and Horizon.