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Ex-ITV exec exits SBS in restructure

Former ITV director of factual and daytime Alison Sharman is returning to the UK after leaving her post at Australian cultural pubcaster SBS, which has undergone major restructuring.

Alison SharmanSharman joined SBS three years as head of commissioned content, but will return to the UK with her family at the end of the month. During her time, she ordered shows such as The Family Law, Struggle Street and Rachel Koo’s Kitchen Notebook.

“We thank Alison for her invaluable contribution to SBS,” said SBS director of TV and online content Marshall Heald. “In her time Alison has led an esteemed slate of great commissioned content across SBS, including the coup of bringing renowned chef Heston Blumenthal to the network.”

Sharman’s role at ITV was split into two when she exited in 2013, with Helen Warner taking on daytime and then BBC Four controller Richard Klein becoming factual chief. He recently left the commercial broadcaster following Kevin Lygo’s appointment as director of television.

As of May, SBS’s commissioning division will become two teams – scripted and and unscripted, in a restructure aimed at better focusing its investments. Sharman, who is also a former BBC daytime and children’s TV controller, had overseen both teams.

John Godfrey, currently head of documentaries, will lead the unscripted team as head on non-scripted content. Commissioning editor Joseph Maxwell has been promoted to replace him as head of docs.

Sue Masters, SBS’s executive producer of drama who’s overseeing the upcoming drama Deep Water, has been named head of scripted content. Her division will oversee all drama and comedy.

Both the scripted and non-scripted divisions will appoint new commissioning editors.

“The SBS Charter is at the heart of SBS commissioned content and these changes are about ensuring we are well-placed to continue our momentum of audience growth and to leverage new opportunities across key genres in scripted and non-scripted content that delivers distinctive, inspiring and entertaining programs for Australian audiences,” said Heald.

The news comes at an uncertain time for SBS, with debate continuing over whether it will eventually merge with larger pubcaster cousin the ABC.

The latter’s outgoing managing director, Mark Scott, in February said there should be a “grown-up conversation” about a merger, which could save millions of dollars each year.