U.K. podcast production outfit Blanchard House has tapped HBO Max podcasting strategy director Hassan Chaudhry as its new head of partnerships and strategy, Variety can exclusively reveal. Meanwhile Amica Sciortino Nowlan, formerly of The Economist, joins as managing producer.
The new hires come ahead of a busy year for the podcast outfit, which is set to launch five shows this year, including two at Audible.
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Chaudhry, who is based in New York, is responsible for establishing and leading HBO Max’s podcasting group, whose output includes “The Game of Thrones Podcast” and “Batman: The Audio Adventures.” At Blanchard House Chaudhry will look after film and TV relationships and lead growth.
Sciortino Nowlan is an award-winning audio producer who helped build The Economist’s audio features team.
“We’re so delighted to add Hassan and Amica to our growing team,” said Blanchard House co-founder Rosie Pye. “We’ve got an extremely busy year ahead, so to have new team members of this calibre is exceptional. We look forward this year to finally releasing some phenomenal shows with our brilliant partners.”
Meanwhile, U.K.-based global content studio The Story Collective has made two key hires. Elouise West joins as head of commercial, legal and business affairs from New Pictures, where she was responsible for running business affairs on several productions, from “Des” for ITV to “Champion,” the first TV project from Candice Carty-Williams for the BBC and Netflix. Ceci Mazzarella joins as head of development from See-Saw Films, where she worked across the development of many U.K. film projects and helped establish See-Saw’s limited series TV slate.
Production continues on its first scripted project, the Disney+ commissioned “A Thousand Blows, created by Steven Knight (“Peaky Blinders”), with a cast that includes Stephen Graham (“The Virtues”), Malachi Kirby (“Small Axe”), Erin Doherty (“The Crown”), Francis Lovehall (“His Dark Materials”) and James Nelson-Joyce (“The Gold”).
Elsewhere, BBC Studios TalentWorks‘ Creator in Residence programs has revealed two new recruits for early 2023, who will focus on scripted projects within the BBC Studios portfolio.
Actor Hammed Animashaun has joined BBC Studios Comedy Productions for a six month placement, to develop original TV content. Animashaun has worked in television, film and theatre with credits that include BBC Studios Comedy Productions’ “Black Ops” and Amazon Studios’ “The Wheel of Time.”
Playwright and comedy screenwriter Liz Daramola, has joined Baby Cow Productions, a BBC Studios Production Label, for a six month placement to develop new original TV content. Whilst part of Soho Theatre’s Writers Lab, Daramola developed her debut play “Bonhomié,” shortlisted for the Tony Craze Award in 2020 and longlisted for the Mustapha Matura Award in 2021. In 2020, she was part of Edinburgh TV Festival’s The Network, and in 2021, she joined the Royal Court Writers’ Group and BBC London Voices.
The program offers paid placements within BBC Studios production units, production labels and invested indies.
Veteran theater public relations executive Janine Shalom has died, Premier PR has announced. She was 63. Shalom was director of theater PR at Premier for 17 years and before that was at McDonald & Rutter, following periods at the Almeida and The National Theatre.
John Reiss, executive chair of Premier, said: “As one of the industry’s leading publicists, she has represented everything from the smallest theatre groups to the biggest productions in the West End; and every time she did so with her unique vigour, tenacity and passion. She was a titan and for those who knew her or had the privilege to work with her, we share your sense of profound loss. Mostly, we shall miss Janine enormously as a much-loved colleague and friend. Regardless of how busy she was, Janine always had time for everyone, and her kindness, humor and rapturous laugh will be much missed by all at Premier. Our thoughts and love are with her family at this difficult time.”
“Winnie the Pooh The Musical” launched in London with a gala performance on Sunday. The 65-minute family show sees A.A. Milne‘s tubby little cubby brought to life along with his furry friends. The show is set to run at Riverside Studios until May 21 when it will head off on a U.K. tour. Jake Bazel reprises his role as Winnie the Pooh, which he originated in the New York production of the show.
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