ITV Hires BSkyB Executive to Lead Original Comedy Push

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ITV headquarters

Saskia Schuster joins the U.K. TV networks giant, while BSkyB promotes Ben Boyer on its comedy team as British TV comedy executive ranks get reshuffled.

LONDON -- U.K. TV powerhouse ITV on Thursday named BSkyB executive Saskia Schuster its new head of comedy commissioning, as it continues to push into original comedy programming.

She will take on the new role this summer, reporting to Elaine Bedell, ITV director of entertainment and comedy. The hire is part of a reshuffle in the British TV comedy executive ranks.‎

Schuster at ITV replaces Myfanwy Moore, who earlier this year was tapped to become the controller of in-house comedy at the BBC.

Meanwhile, BSkyB on Thursday said that it has promoted Ben Boyer to the role of commissioning editor, comedy, from his previous role as head of development, comedy. He reports to Lucy Lumsden, head of comedy.

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Boyer will be ordering comedy programming across BSkyB's portfolio of entertainment channels. One of his primary tasks will be working closely with Lumsden on the recently announced development deal with 21st Century Fox's FX Networks, which will see the partners co-fund and co-develop half-hour scripted comedy projects. If the projects are commissioned, the shows would air on Sky1 HD or Sky Atlantic HD in the U.K. and Ireland and FX Networks channels in the U.S.

"Getting to commission for such a wide-ranging portfolio of channels is an incredible opportunity for a comedy fan with many and varied tastes. I'm looking forward to getting to work in a greater capacity with the incredible talent that Sky employs every step of the way," Boyer said.

Said Lumsden: "Ben Boyer has a fantastic talent for seeking out new, fresh, different and diverse shows, which is key for a role working across our range of channels."

Boyer joined BSkyB's comedy team in July 2012. Before that, he held the position of senior content and commissioning producer, Sky 1 HD and Sky Atlantic HD. He also worked for BSkyB in L.A., liaising with U.S. studios across the portfolio's acquired programming.  Prior to that he was a coordinator in the BBC's program acquisitions department in L.A.

About the departure of Schuster, Lumsden said: "Her time here has seen her commission and oversee a rich array of shows, including Psychobitches, Little Crackers and Yonderland, of which she can be very proud. We wish her the very best in her new role.”‎

In another TV comedy move, Britain's Channel 4 commissioning editor Fiona McDermott has been promoted to the role of acting deputy head of comedy after Nerys Evans recently went on maternity leave.