Lionsgate, BBC Tap Dan McDermott to Lead Scripted TV Partnership

Dan McDermott-Publicity-P-2019
Courtesy of Lionsgate

The former Fox and DreamWorks exec will develop scripted formats and original IP for the U.S. market.

Lionsgate Television and BBC Studios have hired former Fox and DreamWorks exec Dan McDermott to head up their scripted TV partnership from Los Angeles.

McDermott, most recently a producer, writer and partner in Di Bonaventura Pictures Television, will oversee a first-look co-financing agreement that will see Lionsgate and the BBC identify and co-develop scripted formats and original intellectual property for the U.S. market.

As part of the pact, BBC Studios and Lionsgate TV will create original series and draw upon formats from the BBC catalog. The BBC Studios unit in Los Angeles — known for HBO's The Night Of and ABC's Dancing With the Stars — will provide premium content for broadcast, cable and subscription streaming services. The deal provides Lionsgate with premium content and BBC Studios with Lionsgate's experience in delivering scripted offerings to U.S. viewers.

"I have always followed my curiosity and ambition — from the early days at Fox and DreamWorks to my years spent writing and producing content. Now I am inspired to lead the partnership of these two great companies," McDermott said in a statement. He began his career at the Fox Broadcasting Network, where as executive vp programming he oversaw series including In Living Color, The Simpsons, Married With Children and Beverly Hills 90210.

McDermott then moved to DreamWorks as the first president of television and structured the co-venture between ABC and DreamWorks TV while overseeing shows like Spin City and Freaks and Geeks. He more recently partnered with Lorenzo di Bonaventura in launching a TV company, where he executive produced series including Zero Hour, The Real O’Neals and the upcoming Jupiter’s Legacy for Netflix.

"Dan’s business acumen and deep roots in the creative community make him the perfect candidate to lead the charge on this collaboration with our great partners at BBC Studios," Lionsgate TV chairman Kevin Beggs said in his own statement. McDermott's hire was also unveiled by Matt Forde, managing director of international production and formats at BBC Studios.

BBC Studios was formed in April 2018 when it merged with BBC Worldwide. The company has offices in 22 global markets and makes more than 25,000 hours of content a year. The pact provides Lionsgate TV with a host of formats and IP as it continues to grow its roster to compete with traditional studios like Universal TV and Warner Bros. TV.