Longtime Done+Dusted partner Melanie Fletcher has been promoted to CEO of North America, recognizing her shift in recent years toward overseeing the growth of the production company’s business. Fletcher’s promotion comes as D+D prepares to produce the 74th Emmy Awards for NBC next month, as well as upcoming specials like ABC’s “Norman Lear: 100 Years of Music and Laughter” and “Beauty and The Beast: A 30th Celebration,” and “The Kennedy Center Honors” for CBS.
In overseeing D+D’s U.S. business, she’ll focus on expanding the company’s output in original IP development, series, brands, live specials, gaming and experiences. Fletcher, who has been with D+D since its early days, most recently served as chief operating officer.
“Honestly, from the heart, Melanie is fucking amazing,” said D+D co-founder, TV director and Emmy nominee Hamish Hamilton. “She’s been a real driving force within our company for many years. Her vision and her leadership and her kind of motivational qualities are unparalleled. So that’s really why we decided to unleash her even more within the growing world of our business. People genuinely love her and her ability to inspire and motivate and lead and also organize.”
As Variety wrote in January, D+D has spent the past two years moving into new markets, including original series and specials, immersive experiences, brand presentations and gaming-related programming. According to Fletcher, the company wound up producing 33 shows in 2020 and 38 programs in 2021 via its U.S., U.K. and Middle East offices.
“I have to really look at the vision of the business and how we see ourselves moving forward, especially given that the media and entertainment space continues to change at rapid pace,” Fletcher said. “So I’m now focused on finding our whitespace within all of that, and then helping the other partners drive forward their interests. We’re kind of lucky to a certain extent that we all had separate interests. Mine is very much now to lead the business forward.”
In particular is the need to create in-house IP, she added. “For the longest time we’ve not been an IP generating business. We’ve been an IP leveraging business, where we’ve been gifted the most precious IP in the world to create stories and spectacles,” Fletcher said. “We’re trusted with that IP. And I think that’s our superpower really, but we often think why aren’t we generating our own IP? So whilst in sharp focus is IP creation, and we now have a development team that is very much in the market with a half a dozen concepts in series and specials, which we’re really excited about.
“But the number one focus for us actually is quality control,” she said. “It’s great to expand. It’s great to do more work, but we have been known for our quality. And so part of my job is to really work with the expanding teams on how to produce the Done+Dusted way, which has to be a top-tier content quality. We will never allow that to waver.”
The CEO role means Fletcher will have to step back from executive producing — which she admits will be tough, given the fun of it. Her credits include the London 2012 Olympic opening and closing ceremonies, as well as concert films with major recording artists like Coldplay, the Rolling Stones, Adele, Madonna, Shakira, Pink, Shawn Mendes and Sam Smith.
As COO, Fletcher was instrumental in helping D+D pivot during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. “At the whole beginning of COVID, it was really tough,” Hamilton said. “We’re an events company. It really looked bad. I mean, honestly, there were tears, there were fears. There were families and family homes on the line. We came together as a group, as a family and found a solution. With a huge amount of hard work and innovation and a bit of luck, it really turned our business around. The nucleus of that was seven people combined to make 27 around the world. We’ve come out of it supremely much stronger, much better as a company, much closer as a unit. We definitely feel stronger together. And in a way part of this announcement is Mel taking her rightful named, respected designated place. There’s now a formality to this that maybe there wasn’t in the past although we kind of knew it to be true.”
Fletcher will remain based in Done + Dusted’s Los Angeles offices, while Simon Pizey will remain as Group CEO leading overall company leadership while also running operations for England, Europe and the Middle East. Besides Hamilton, other partners include president Ian Stewart, executive producer Katy Mullan, executive producer Guy Carrington and executive producer David Jammy.
“It’s amazing that within our family, we have someone as talented and as unique as Mel,” said Hamilton, who is up for his seventh Emmy nomination for outstanding direction for a variety special (for “The Pepsi Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show Starring Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar and 50 Cent:) at the Emmys this year. “And she’s gonna go out there, throw it down, and she’s gonna take this company to the next level. And you know what, as brothers and sisters, we’re right behind her and we couldn’t be more proud or more supportive.”
In taking on the CEO gig, Fletcher said it was also important to her as a woman in a male-dominated field to represent. “In our niche business of live entertainment, there are very few women that are in the C-suite, particularly in independent production companies,” she said. “I’ve been in the business since I was in my teens and I feel like I have a responsibility to be a leader on that front, to show other women that they should know their value and they should push ahead. It’s that age-old saying of ‘see it, be it.’ That’s the thing I’m most proud about, that I’ve kind of forged this path now that I hope others are thinking, ‘I’ve got this. I’m gonna go do that.’ I think the industry is changing, which is great news for everyone.”