ITV Studios Names Discovery Executive Julian Bellamy Head of U.K. Operation

Julian Bellamy
Julian Bellamy
 ITV

LONDON Discovery Networks International veteran Julian Bellamy will be the new managing director of ITV Studios U.K., the British broadcaster said on Thursday.

He succeeds Denise O'Donoghue, who earlier this month announced her decision to step down after overseeing the U.K. production arm of the firm for four years. ITV, home of Downton Abbey, has been growing its production business to diversify beyond advertising revenue.

 

"After 30 years in television, I have decided to scale back my working commitments and will leave my role as managing director of ITV Studios U.K. at the end of this year," O'Donoghue said back then.

 

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At Discovery Networks International, Bellamy, who will start his ITV role "later this year," served as head of production and development, helping to make the company a big player in the development and production of content all around the globe. 

 

He worked for the company for three years after serving as head of Britain's Channel 4 from May 2007 through Oct. 2010, where he managed such original shows as Undercover Boss. He is also a former controller of BBC Three, the U.K. public broadcaster's youth network that is set to go digital-only.

 

"Julian is an exceptional talent who combines outstanding creativity with excellent strategic leadership," said ITV Studios managing director Kevin Lygo.

 

Discovery Networks International president JB Perrette announced in a staff memo on Thursday that chief content officer Luis Silberwasser would also leave the company soon for a new career opportunity. He didn't provide details on it. 

 

Perrette also announced the search -- internally and externally -- for a chief creative officer, a new role at DNI, calling the job "one of the biggest creative jobs in international television."

 

In the meantime, Rosemary Newell, vp programming and content operations, will serve as the interim head of the DNI content group. 

 

"Discovery Networks International is celebrating a key milestone this month -- 25 years of providing high-quality nonfiction content to countries across the globe," he wrote in his memo to staff. "Today, DNI's success is increasingly about developing and producing the best content from countries all over the globe, and we want to make this an even bigger strength and differentiator for the company."

 

Added Perrette: "Over the last three years, under the leadership of chief content officer Luis Silberwasser, and the direction of head of production & development, Julian Bellamy, DNI's content teams demonstrated more collaboration and a higher level of global programming initiatives. They have put DNI on the map as a generator of some of the best high-quality programming the company has produced."

 

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Discovery recently also acquired London-based independent production studio Raw, creator of hit show Gold Rush. The deals "have further expanded Discovery's global production footprint and strengthened our presence in this important creative hub," Perrette said.

 

He concluded: "The time is right to take a new approach that will chart the next phase of creative growth for DNI. Luis and Julian have done a great job operationalizing the international production and development function, which gives us the opportunity to appoint new leadership that will focus more exclusively on creative development and execution." 

 

E-mail: Georg.Szalai@THR.com

Twitter: @georgszalai

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