Channels announce comedy executive changes

It's executive musical chairs in the comedy departments of some of the major channels at the moment. Here are the latest changes.

BBC hires Myfanwy Moore

Myfanwy Moore

This first bit of news was actually announced in March. Myfanwy Moore, previously of ITV, has joined the BBC as Controller of UK Comedy Production. The role - vacated by Mark Freeland, who becomes the inaugural Controller of Fiction and Entertainment - will see her leading the BBC In-House Comedy department, the most prolific comedy producer in the UK.

She says: "I have loved my time at ITV, but as any comedy geek knows, running BBC In-House Comedy - the birthplace of so many well-loved and enduring shows that have shaped popular culture - is an opportunity that is hard to turn down. And I am a geek."

Full story

ITV hires Saskia Schuster

Saskia Schuster

ITV has hired Yonderland commissioner Saskia Schuster as its new Commissioning Editor For Comedy, filling the void left by Myfanwy Moore.

The former Sky executive will now spearhead the network's push into commissioning further scripted comedy.

Schuster says: "I'm thrilled to joining the ITV family. ITV are leading the field across genres so when you throw into the mix passion and ambition for comedy growth, it's the most exciting place to be."

She will report to Elaine Bedell, who says that comedy will have an "increasing and important role to play in the peak time schedules of ITV2 as well as on the main channel".

Saskia Schuster was previously working at Sky. Sky's comedy boss Lucy Lumsden says: "It has been a pleasure working with Saskia at Sky. 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."

Sky promotes Ben Boyer

Ben Boyer

Following the departure of Schuster, Sky have announced the promotion of Ben Boyer to Commissioning Editor for Comedy from his current role as Head of Comedy Development.

As Boyer moves into his new role, commissioning comedy across Sky's entire portfolio of entertainment channels, one of his primary tasks will be working closely with Head Of Comedy Lucy Lumsden on the recently announced development deal with FX Networks. The two-year agreement will see Sky and FX Networks co-fund and co-develop new half-hour scripted comedy.

Boyer says: "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."

Lucy Lumsden adds: "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. He's a great member of my team and it gives me great pleasure to announce his promotion today."

Channel 4 promotes Fiona McDermott

Channel 4

Not to be left out, Channel 4 have made changes too.

Broadcast magazine reports that Channel 4 "has beefed up its comedy commissioning team in an effort to significantly reduce pitch response times".

As part of the moves, Commissioning Editor Fiona McDermott has been promoted to acting deputy head of comedy to cover for Nerys Evans being on maternity leave.

Additionally, Liz Lewin from Company Pictures joins the department, and Rachel Springett has been taken on permanently.

Head of comedy Phil Clarke told Broadcast that his team was larger than it has been "in living memory" and that operations have become more effective as Lewin and McDermott take on responsibility for responding to pitches "quickly and efficiently".

He added: "We are piloting as many shows as we ever have done and we're also commissioning shows off the back of Blaps. Reports about budget cuts were off the mark. We're not commissioning fewer pilots and my budget is broadly the same as it ever was."

Published: Thursday 29th May 2014
BCG Pro logo

This article is provided for free as part of BCG Pro.

Subscribe now for exclusive features, insight, learning materials, opportunities and other tools for the British comedy industry.