Scannell named prexy of BBC Worldwide America

Former Nickelodeon topper joins network

Former Nickelodeon topper Herb Scannell has been named president of BBC Worldwide America.

Scannell fills the void left by Garth Ancier, who ankled the post at the end of March.

Scannell takes the top post, heading up the BBC’s U.S. operations, immediately. He most recently served as CEO of Next New Networks, a company he co-founded in 2006.

Scannell will also sit on BBC Worldwide’s executive board.

Scannell’s Nickelodeon background will come in handy as the BBC prepares to introduce its young kids franchise, CBeebies, to the U.S. market. BBC Worldwide has previously announced plans to enter the growing preschool marketplace here, although the company hasn’t yet announced any distribution for the channel.

Scannell helped launch Nickelodeon’s preschool channel, Noggin (now known as Nick Jr.). Disney also recently announced plans to turn SoapNet into the 24-hour preschool-targeted Disney Junior.

As prexy of BBC Worldwide America, Scannell will oversee channel BBC America, as well as BBC Worldwide Productions, in the U.S., and sales and distribution.

“Herb has a tremendous track record of success in developing and extending innovative brands across multiple platforms, which is precisely the experience needed to help build the next phase for BBC Worldwide in the U.S.,” said BBC Worldwide topper John Smith. “Our American businesses have delivered significant successes in recent years – not least record ratings for flagship shows Dancing With The Stars and Doctor Who in the past month – and we believe Herb is the right person to leverage this success and build a power brand for the BBC in the U.S.”

Scannell will work closely with BBC Worldwide’s Los Angeles-based exec VP Jane Tranter.

“I’ve been associated with innovative brands and businesses throughout my career, and there’s none more innovative in television than the BBC,” Scannell said. “It’s a world renowned brand with a great portfolio of businesses in the U.S. that have tremendous prospects.”

As vice chairman of MTV Networks and president of Nickelodeon Networks, Scannell oversaw all creative and business operations for a portfolio of brands including Nickelodeon, TV Land and Spike TV.

Scannell also expanded Nickelodeon’s brand into feature films, consumer products, magazines, online, live theatrical shows and an L.A.-based animation studio.

Under Ancier, BBC America’s distribution grew to 67 million households and cultivated hits such as “Torchwood,” “Top Gear” and “Primeval.” Revenues grew by 39% after ad sales moved inhouse. Ancier remains a non-executive board member at BBC Worldwide America.

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