BBC Studios Productions Restructures


BBC Studios Productions is more closely aligning its U.K. and U.S. unscripted entertainment and scripted teams, while its Los Angeles Productions general manager, Valerie Bruce, exits the business at the end of the summer.

Bruce, who has spearheaded BBC Studios’ Los Angeles production activities to drive commercial growth as general manager, is exiting the company after 13 years. Bruce has led a team of Los Angeles-based creative producers working on developing original programming, including the Emmy Award-winning Life Below Zero franchise on National Geographic, through a long-term production partnership with BBC Studios Los Angeles Productions.

The Los Angeles scripted programming team, led by Angie Stephenson and Rachel Bendavid, will now report to L.A.-based Mark Linsey, BBC Studios president of scripted. The team will continue to work closely with U.K. partners and the BBC Studios North American Content Sales team, led in L.A. by Lawrence Szabo, executive VP of U.S. content sales.

Unscripted entertainment in L.A. will be led by Ryan O’Dowd, executive VP of entertainment and music, who will report directly to Matt Forde, BBC Studios Productions’ managing director of global entertainment, who is based out of the production arm’s London hub. The move will place entertainment’s U.K. and L.A. development at the center of BBC Studios’ global network of offices going forward, with a strengthened focus on formats such as The 1% Club.

Forde said: “In a fast moving and constantly changing business in both the U.K. and U.S., it makes sense to bring our unscripted entertainment and scripted teams in Los Angeles closer to our U.K. teams to maximize the opportunities we’ve identified between both markets. I’d also like to pay tribute to Valerie who has driven significant commercial growth across all of our production activities in L.A., including hit shows such as ABC/Disney’s Dancing with the Stars, Wrestlers for Netflix, the Life Below Zero franchise for Nat Geo, The Weakest Link on NBC, Ghosts on CBS and, most recently, The 1% Club on Amazon Prime/FOX. We wish her all the best.”

Linsey added: “Announcing a scripted production base in L.A. that is fully integrated with our production portfolio in London will hugely benefit our business. As well as developing their own slate of ideas, Rachel and Angie will work closely with our U.K. producers and the content sales team to find the best possible route for their content into L.A. and connect them with the unique talent across our drama and comedy units, labels and creative partners.”