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Fox poaches Keshet exec in drama originals plan

Scripted-logo-460_2Sara JohnsonFox Networks Group Europe and Africa has poached Sara Johnson from Keshet UK as a first step in a plan to source and produce original programming at a regional level.

Johnson (pictured) will be VP, scripted drama at the 21st Century Fox-owned broadcast group, which is based in London.

She will report to FNG Europe and Africa senior VP of content development and Fox UK managing director Jeff Ford.

Johnson will be Fox’s first drama development exec in Europe when she begins on September 12. She will work closely with FNG’s LA-based executive VP, scripted programming and original content, Sharon Tal Yguado, on regional projects.

This marks a step change for Fox Europe and Africa, which has to this point focused on high-cost acquisitions of major series such as The Walking Dead and Wayward Pines, and comes after the reorganisation of Fox’s international business that saw Jan Koeppen take charge of Europe and Africa, and Hernan Lopez exit. Internationally, Fox has moved into international production, with Outcast an example of the programming emerging from its Fox International Studios in-house arm.

“Bringing Sara to the company reinforces our commitment to develop fresh, new drama for this region specifically, combining the internationally renowned talent and creativity here in the European television industry with Fox’s expertise in quality TV production,” said Ford, who added is content development duties to his role in October 2015.

Johnson joins from Keshet International’s UK arm, where she has been since 2012 when the Israeli company expanded west. This made her the firm’s first UK-based senior creative executive.

She has worked in production, commissioning and coproduction for more than 20 years for the likes of La Plante Productions, Sky 1, Sony Pictures Television and BBC One.

At Keshet, she was most recently executive producer and head of coproductions, scripted. Notably, she was an executive producer on BBC One’s remake of The A Word and upcoming Channel 4 comedy-drama

Keshet UK recently hired Howard Burch from Vertigo Films to become its first head of drama.

Keshet UK managing director Sammy Nourmand said the firm had not yet found Johnson’s replacement. “Sara has been instrumental in putting Keshet on the UK drama map and we wish her every success in her new role,” he told TBI.