Banijay Nordic Taps Ivar Kohn as CEO of Norway’s Rubicon

Ivar Kohn
Credit: Ole Kaland, NRK / Banijay

Ivar Køhn, head of drama at Norwegian public broadcaster NRK since 2013, will be joining Banijay Nordic’s scripted label Rubicon as its Chief Executive Officer.  

Announced by Banijay Nordic on Monday, the appointment marks big news for Scandinavia’s TV sector as it prepares to gather tomorrow at Sweden’s Göteborg Festival for its annual TV Drama Vision confab.

Under Kohn’s leadership, NRK emerged from the shadow of Denmarks’s DR (“The Killing,” “The Bridge,” “Borgen”) by producing a string of international hits such as, just recently, International Emmy winner “Atlantic Crossing,” Canneseries 2018 laureate “State of Happiness” and “22 July,” which won a Nordisk Film and TV Fond Prize in 2020. 

Most recently for NRK, Izer Aliu’s “Countrymen,” a Rubicon production, picked up a Canneseries award last October for its ensemble cast, plus a nomination for this week’s Nordisk Film and TV Fond Prize. 

An institution in Norway, Køhn spent six years before joining NRK as the Norwegian Film Institute’s head of development and production. He will be working with Rubicon’s famed creative leaders, Anne Bjørnstad and Eilif Skodvin, whose credits include “Lillyhammer,” Netflix’s first experience of an – at least partly – foreign language TV show, and HBO Max hit “Beforeigners.”

Køhn will take up his new role on May 1, 2022, reporting to Banijay Nordic CEO, Jacob Houlind and the region’s head of scripted, Johannes Jensen.

Rubicon now opens the door for Køhn to be involved in productions which fly on streaming platforms globally and to link up with other Banijay labels in Scandinavia and around the world. 

“I feel very lucky to have been part of a very strong period of growth at a broadcaster with a conscious and innovative relationship to both drama and publishing. The time now feels right for a change of editor, both for NRK, the industry and myself.” said Køhn.  

He added: “There are great opportunities ahead for Norwegian drama and to be involved in developing this through Rubicon TV will be challenging and super fun.”

As part of the worldwide community of producers in Banijay, “I’m going to do something I’ve not done before, based on something I’ve been doing for quite some time,” he said.

“Ivar has been one of the key figures in the successful development of Norwegian TV drama in recent years. He is globally recognised for his exceptional instinct in backing original ideas which become international hits,” added Bjørnstad and Skodvin. “This, coupled with his industry know-how, vision and business sense, puts Rubicon in a fantastic position to further innovate and succeed both at home and abroad.”

Banijay Nordic encompasses some of the leading production companies in Scandinavia, such as Yellow Bird (“Wallander,” “Millennium,” “Headhunters”), Jarowskij (“Solsidan”) and Filmlance (“Beck”).