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Comcast-owned European pay TV giant Sky has named Cécile Frot-Coutaz, former CEO of Fremantle and currently head of YouTube in Europe, the CEO of its production arm Sky Studios, starting in September.
Current Sky Studios CEO Gary Davey, who launched the business in 2019, remains with the company to ensure a smooth transition before retiring later this year.
Frot-Coutaz will “take on the funding, development, production, and commissioning teams for scripted Sky originals, working closely with Sky’s content leads in each market, to deliver premium comedy, drama, and documentary to Sky’s 24 million customers across Europe,” the company said Thursday.
She will also take charge of Sky Studios’ global portfolio of production companies, including Love Productions (The Great British Bake Off), Blast! Films, Jupiter Entertainment and True North. “As CEO, her remit also includes Sky Studios Elstree, the new, state-of-the-art film and TV studios that will house 13 sound stages and is set to open next year,” the company said.
Frot-Coutaz had in 2018 accepted the job as head of Alphabet-owned Google’s YouTube in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).
“Cécile is a global leader in content and entertainment and has the bold vision and unique mix of experience needed to take Sky Studios to the next level of becoming a European production powerhouse,” said Sky’s group CEO Dana Strong. “She is perfectly suited to lead Sky Studios as we ramp up our investment in original content and look ahead to cameras rolling at Sky Studios Elstree next year.”
Said Frot-Coutaz: “Sky is a company that I have always admired as a content maker, as a partner and as a consumer. Like the rest of the industry I have witnessed the launch of Sky Studios just over two years ago and have seen the ambition and speed by which the organization has grown. I could not pass up the opportunity to lead the studio through its next phase of growth and look forward to getting started later this year.”
Since launching in 2019, Sky Studios has delivered such content to Sky’s platforms and channels across Europe as Britannia and Gangs of London. “Last year, nine of the top 10 programs viewed on Sky’s channels in the U.K. were Sky originals,” the firm said. “Last year, 29 Sky originals were shown on 15 different networks and platforms in the U.S. alone, including Britannia on EPIX, A Discovery of Witches and Gangs of London on AMC, Brassic on Hulu, Devils on The CW, I Hate Suzie on HBO Max, plus Intelligence, Code 404, Save Me and Hitmen on Peacock.”
Upcoming projects for Sky Studios across Europe include The Midwich Cuckoos, starring Keeley Hawes and Max Beesley; Die Wespe, a German comedy starring Florian Lukas; and Alfredino. Sky Studios is also ramping up its in-house productions across all markets, including Blocco 181 in Italy, a collaboration with Italian rap star Salmo, and The Rising, the first series produced entirely in-house by Sky Studios in the U.K.
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