LONDON — U.K. TV production company Betty, which is owned by Discovery Communications, has launched a U.S. production arm. The new division will be led by Discovery Networks International senior executive Jon Sechrist.
Betty makes primetime factual entertainment, features, specialist factual, documentary and adventure shows, including “Heston’s Great British Food,” “The Undateables,” “Bear Grylls: Mission Survive,” “Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners” and “The Fabulous Baker Brothers.” It supplies programs to major U.K. broadcasters including BBC, ITV and Channel Four, as well as TLC and Discovery, and its shows have been sold to more than 63 countries.
“Betty creates high-quality television with formats and storylines that can translate to the U.S. market, creating new hit series while broadening their own audience beyond the U.K.,” said Lee Bartlett, president of the Studios Group for Discovery, which oversees Betty. “Jon’s contributions to Discovery Networks International are invaluable and his expertise in the lifestyle and factual entertainment genres make him the ideal leader for Betty’s U.S. operation.”
Sechrist, who will take the title senior VP and head of production and development at Betty U.S., will oversee the existing production slate, including “The Undateables,” “The Food Inspectors,” “Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners,” “The Food Hospital,” “Kings of the Wild” and “Too Ugly for Love?,” as well as originating new ideas for factual and factual entertainment shows. He will report to Betty’s co-managing directors, Neil Smith and Matthew Littleford. Sechrist will be based in New York.
Sechrist’s current role is VP — production and development, Discovery Networks International. He develops and produces lifestyle/factual/entertainment shows sourced from the global production community, and manages content partnerships with Discovery’s U.S. portfolio, including Discovery Channel, TLC, ID: Investigation Discovery, OWN, Destination America and DiscoveryLife.
His track record includes factual entertainment series “Cake Boss,” “Sister Wives,” “Next Great Baker,” “My Naked Secret,” “Bizarre ER,” “NY Ink” and “BBQ Pitmasters,” “Body Bizarre” and specials “650 lb Virgin,” “Child Frozen in Time” and “Little Looking for Love.” Sechrist has also produced soap operas “All My Children,” “One Life to Live” and “Noah’s Arc,” and festival film “Were the World Mine.”
Prior to joining Discovery, Sechrist worked as a programming executive at ABC Daytime and MTV Networks, where he was a part of the creative startup teams that launched MTV.com, MTV2 and Logo.