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TORONTO — Cineflix Media has named former NBCU International president Peter Smith as CEO of Cineflix Studios, the Canadian factual TV producer’s expanding scripted division.
Based in London, Smith will continue the indie producer’s move into scripted fare in the U.K., U.S. and Canada on the heels of its first drama series, Copper, debuting successfully on BBC America this month.
Smith joins Cineflix Studios after completing a one-year consulting gig at NBCU International as part of a March 2011 departure agreement in the wake of the Comcast-NBCU merger.
“I really wanted to go out and do something very entrepreneurial, ideally in a smaller business if I got the opportunity, and to get closer to the creative business,” Smith told The Hollywood Reporter.
Montreal-based Cineflix launched its scripted division in 2010 in the U.S., with former AMC exec Christina Wayne as president and Vlad Wolynetz as president of production.
Now Smith, as CEO of the scripted division, will expand the unit from offices in Los Angeles and New York into Canada and the U.K. to cover a major slice of the English-speaking TV market.
For its part, Cineflix is looking to Smith to repeat what he did for NBCU International by making global dramas, especially out of the U.K., a strong and sustainable business for the Canadian producer.
And he’s set to grow Cineflix Studios organically, rather than through acquisitions as at NBCU International, where time and corporate pressures had the London-based studio division quickly bulking up to meet targets.
“This is different. These guys are thinking of the business long term,” Smith said of Glen Salzman and Katherine Buck, co-CEOs of Cineflix Media and to whom he will report. “They don’t need a set term revenue.”
Smith was at NBCU International for 22 years, including three years at the helm.
His international TV production credits include the popular ITV/PBS drama Downton Abbey, which came to NBCU International after the acquisition of U.K. indie Carnival Films.
Copper, the first original scripted series for Cineflix, set a series-premiere record for BBC America by pulling in 1.1 million viewers Aug. 19.
The immigrant drama also debuted well on Showcase in Canada, bringing in about 400,000 viewers.
And Fox International Channels took the exclusive pay-TV first window for the Civil War-era drama created by Tom Fontana and Will Rokos.
Looking beyond Copper, Cineflix Studios has about a dozen series in the development pipeline, of which around six are parked with international broadcasters in advanced development.
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