In the wake of AMC Networks’ deal to acquire a stake in BBC America, Sarah Barnett has been named president and general manager of the network. Barnett, who began her career with the BBC in London, will continue in her current role as president and GM of AMC’s SundanceTV on an interim basis until a successor is named.
Barnett replaces outgoing BBC America general manager Perry Simon, who has previously announced that he would leave the network at the end of the year. Simon walks away with an exclusive production deal to develop projects for BBC North America Worldwide.
In October, AMC acquired a 49.9% stake in BBC America from BBC Worldwide for $200 million. The deal gave AMC operational control of the network, which is available in 80 million homes.
Barnett has served as head of SundanceTV since 2009. The following year she launched the network’s first original scripted programming with the miniseries Carlos, which has since been followed by original series and miniseries such as Rectify, Top of the Lake, The Honorable Woman, The Red Road, Restless, Appropriate Adult and The Returned. She began her career with the BBC in London, directing and producing for television and radio for 12 years before being named VP, on air. In 2005 she joined SundanceTV as senior VP, marketing.
“Sarah has had a remarkable tenure guiding SundanceTV through a dramatic evolution, taking the network ad-supported and establishing it as a formidable player in the scripted drama space,” said Ed Carroll, COO, AMC Networks. “Sarah’s appetite for creative risk-taking and her strong leadership skills are well suited to this new role and we look forward to her building on BBC America's successes, as the network continues to establish itself as a showcase for high quality shows that resonate with critics and audiences alike.”