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BBC America moves into original production

BBC America is to move into original production with the hire of former Discovery executive Rachel Smith.

The channel is looking to expand significantly into the non scripted business.

This is the first significant move by the US cable network, which is operated by the British public broadcaster’s commercial arm, since the appointment of Perry Simon as general managers, channels in August.

Smith joins from Discovery-owned Planet Green, where she was responsible for the production of series including Operation Wild and Dresscue Me. She also previously worked at US cable network IFC and director of development at Bravo.

She will report to Richard De Croce, senior vice president, programming, BBC America, and will look after all aspects of non scripted programme development.

“Rachel’s appointment marks an important milestone for BBC America, as we move into the development of original programming for the channel. Our aim is to create a slate that speaks to an American audience with the same quality, intelligence, irreverence and innovation that you will expect from the BBC,” said Mason.