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BBC America President Sarah Barnett Talks Limited Series, ‘Uber’ Fans

Newly anointed BBC America president Sarah Barnett said the current trend of auteur-led projects and limited series fits perfectly with her vision for the network.

“While British TV has always exported well, its impact today on U.S. TV is meaningful,” she told reporters Saturday at the Television Critics Assn. press tour in Pasadena.

“Auteur TV used to be a Brit thing, with individual geniuses creating six or eight episodes before they would tire of it or maybe have a nervous breakdown. Now the auteur or limited series are hallmarks of prestige drama in the U.S. on all or every platform, and the business model finds new ways to sustain that.”

BBC America’s programming lineup is at “front-and-center” to suit this trend.

Barnett also told reporters that she plans to pursue innovative projects. “The previous leadership took big swings with original development, which I very much I plan to continue,” she said.

“I’m fortunate to inherit a channel in excellent health, coming off its highest-rated year ever,” said Barnett, pointing to the cabler’s 10 straight years of growth and crediting the “uber” fans.

“The prospect of taking over a network that has a wildly enthusiastic audience who will embrace clones, time travel, cars, Idris Elba — not to mention the occasional polar bear and penguin — is a wildly exciting one.”

 

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