Perry Simon, a development and production veteran with
substantial new media experience including at online leader YouTube, will take
the helm at BBC America.
As general manager of channels for BBC Worldwide America,
Simon will have under his purview U.S. channels including the flagship BBC
America as well as BBC America HD, VOD services and BBCAmerica.com.
He starts Sept. 7 and reports directly to Herb Scannell, president
of BBC Worldwide America.
"BBC America already holds a very special place in a lot of
people's hearts and minds based on the quality of the programming that it's
already been known for," Simon told B&C.
"Clearly I think the objective here is to extend that even further."
Simon will be responsible for growing the network's original
programming oeuvre as well as stepping up its marketing prowess.
"We do want to introduce some originals of our own in
addition to all the terrific programming that we've had access to from BBC and
other sources," he says. "The goal is to be more aggressive in ramping up some
original programming to compliment what we've been doing."
As executive VP of primetime programs at NBC he was
instrumental in developing some of the network's biggest hits during the 80s
and early 90s including The Cosby Show,
Cheers, Miami Vice, Mad About You,
Frasier and Seinfeld. As president of Viacom Productions, Simon shepherded
numerous successful programs including Ed,
Sabrina the Teenage Witch and HBO's Oz. He also ran his own production
company, Shore View Entertainment, where he served as executive producer on
multiple series including USA's The 4400.
Simon was also a special advisor to You
Tube,helping the company develop
and execute studio and network partnership strategies from YouTube's start-up
stage through its acquisition by Google. Most recently, he served as chief
content officer at advanced television service provider Sezmi Corp, overseeing
the company's content licensing, programming and advertising activities since
its inception in 2006. He had a hand in programming deals and worked with
the advertising community and Sezmi's engineering team to develop an
interactive marketing platform. He'll be applying much of that multi-platform
marketing experience - at Sezmi and YouTube - to his new post at BBC America,
"Clearly one of the goals is to expand the impact and the
reach [of BBC America] through savvy marketing that takes advantage of
traditional marketing platforms but also newer ones that are emerging every day
from broadband to social media," he says. "And because the BBC audience tends
to be pretty high indexing - affluent, well-educated - they're the perfect
targets for the kind of message we'll be communicating. So it seems like a
great opportunity to really be a leader in not only the programming space but
the marketing space as well."
Simon is Scannell's first major hire since Scannell took
over as head of BBC America Worldwide last June. Scannell replaced Garth
Ancier, who stepped down last year after three years at the channel. Ancier
remains at the channel in an advisory capacity.