BBC Studios LA Productions Names Formats Veteran Nicholas Oakley As SVP, Unscripted Development

EXCLUSIVE: BBC Studios has named formats veteran Nicholas Oakley as SVP, Unscripted Development for LA Productions, as the outfit seeks the next generation of hits.

Deadline revealed in April that the U.S. arm of the BBC’s commercial outfit was creating the role and Oakley, who joins from his Head of Development post at Hollywood Game Night producer Mission Control Media, will now work with the LA unscripted team to conceive and develop original content ideas and build domestic and global formats. He will also leverage his relationships with U.S. buyers to pitch and sell entertainment and factual series.

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Oakley’s hire comes off the back of two years of record growth for LA Productions, during which it has launched 11 series.

Oakley is a formats veteran, having worked for the likes of CNN’s HLN Network, ITV Studios and the U.S. office of UK super-indie Tinopolis. He started his career with the BBC working on the Weakest Link, which has recently been rebooted in the U.S. by Oakley’s new team, and brought formats such as Hell’s Kitchen, Nanny 911, and Celebrity Fit Club to the U.S.

Oakley will report into Ryan O’Dowd, Executive Vice President, Music & Entertainment, who said he “brings a strong network of long-standing relationships in our business, along with his impressive breadth of experience across multiple genres on the buying and selling side, in both the U.S. and the U.K.”

“Our ambition is to create global hits, and Nick will play a key role as we work to achieve this,” he added.

The move comes off the back of a record year for BBC Studios in which profits rose by 50% and BBC Director General Tim Davie has prioritized returns from the commercial outfit.

“These results are a direct testament to our team’s entrepreneurial spirit, passion and belief in our work,” said General Manager Valerie Bruce. “We’re making a strategic move to bring on a proven executive who will add valuable expertise to our incredibly talented and creative team.”

BBC Studios LA recently launched Dancing with the Stars 31, which moved from ABC to Disney+, and today sees premieres for the latest season of Ghosts, Welcome to Flatch and Call Me Kat.

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