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Discovery US hires ex-ITV exec O’Connell

Discovery Channel in the US has hired former ITV factual commissioner Andrew O’Connell for a key transatlantic post.

Andrew O ConnellHe will become the network’s VP, development and production, having left UK commercial broadcaster ITV in May.

In the new post, he will be based in the UK and focus on working with local producers to find new factual formats for the US cable network. This will see him also partnering with Discovery Networks International’s production and development teams.

O’Connell (pictured) officially joins on July 11, reporting to executive VP, productions and development Denise Contis.

“Andrew brings an incredible depth of experience and expertise that is a perfect fit for Discovery,” Contis said. “He has developed strong relationships across the United Kingdom and worked on a wide range of successful programmes.”

At ITV, O’Connell commissioned factual programmes such as Heathrow: Britain’s Busiest Airport, Sugar Free Farm and Britain’s Favourite Dogs. He had taken on the post in February 2015, replacing Katy Thorogood, having joined the broadcaster in an interim role the previous year.

Before ITV, he was head of news, factual and current affairs at Channel 5, but left in 2013, and worked at pay TV channel Sky 1, where he was responsible for shows such as Ross Kemp on Gangs and Ross Kemp in Afghanistan.