The BBC has appointed Jon Petrie as its new head of comedy. In the role, he will report to chief content officer Charlotte Moore and be responsible for commissioning all scripted comedy on the BBC, iPlayer and the BBC Comedy Association.
Petrie moves over from Broke and Bones, the Netflix-invested indie owned by “Black Mirror” creators Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones, where he was appointed head of comedy last August. He was previously comedy commissioning editor at Channel 4 where he oversaw “The Windsors,” “Friday Night Dinner” and “Dead Pixels.”
“Jon is a talented creative with a passion for comedy and an impressive track record for spotting new and diverse talent from across the UK and creating mainstream hits,” said Moore. “I’m thrilled he’s joining the BBC as the new director of comedy and can’t wait to start working with him as he leads BBC comedy commissioning into an exciting new era.”
Petrie’s start date is still to be confirmed.
He replaces Shane Allen, who returns to production. – K.J. Yossman
Fremantle has closed an exclusive first-look distribution deal with U.K. production label Astronaut Films. Astronaut was launched last year by Bafta-nominated founder Jon Alwen, and in that short time has established an impressive network of commissioners and creative talent within the unscripted space. Under the new deal, Fremantle will handle international distribution for future Astronaut content, including the already announced “The Assassination of JFK,” commissioned by Channel 5 in the U.K. Astronaut is also currently in production on two series and in advanced development on several other projects.
The Artists Partnership, Sayle Screen and Sara Putt Associates are uniting to form The Partnership Group. Sayle Screen is a literary agency and Sarah Putt Associates represent below the line professionals. The Artists Partnership, which represents talent including Regé-Jean Page, Emily Blunt and Idris Elba, will invest in both companies and all three will sit under the new umbrella company, The Partnership Group.
“By pooling our knowledge and expertise our companies will gain a wider overview of the film, television and theatre landscapes, and be able to act as a more powerful and unified force in our growing, global industry,” the companies said in a joint statement. “Our coming together is just the start, as we aim to grow the group strategically over time.”
That’s Media has launched That’s TV Gold, a new national channel in the U.K. that will broadcast on Sky and Freeview starting tonight. The new network will broadcast nostalgic programming from decades past featuring a star-studded line-up of concerts and documentaries from and featuring the biggest names in entertainment from the past century, including The Beatles, Elvis, ABBA, The Rolling Stones and Rod Stewart. That’s Media operates 20 of the 34 local Freeview licences granted by Ofcom, reaching more than five million homes.