Pay TV operator Sky has revealed the recruits joining its new two-year assistant commissioner program, which is designed to attract fresh talent from outside the traditional pool of commissioning executives.
The program will bring 30% more commissioners to Sky’s teams across Sky Studios and Sky U.K., growing the number from 23 to 30.
The assistant commissioners include Sholla Caramba-Coker in drama, Leanne Cosby in arts and entertainment, Ziyaad Desai and Giberte Phanor in factual, Isaac Nartey in kids and Sabrina Parmar in film. The seventh recruit, for the comedy team, will be announced imminently. The assistant commissioners will be supported by the National Film and Television School to develop early-stage Sky original projects and bring new ideas to returning formats.
Caramba-Coker has worked for South of the River Pictures and Left Bank as a development producer. Cosby was a theatre and dance producer at the Barbican. Desai has produced and directed a number of documentaries and Giberte has worked on previous Sky documentaries at Blast! Films. Nartey co-created the BAFTA-winning spoken word program “Life & Rhymes” for Sky Arts. Parmar was most recently a development editor for Paramount.
Zai Bennett, managing director of content, Sky U.K. and Ireland, said: “It’s great to see the range of talent coming through the doors to shake up the slate. We know that the route into commissioning isn’t an easy one, particularly at more senior levels, so we’ve made it our priority to grow and diversify the team and by extension to safeguard our ability to provide customers with world-class content.”
Cecile Frot-Coutaz, CEO of Sky Studios, added: “Across all genres, but particularly within comedy and drama, it is critical that we commission projects that reflect and represent the broadest range of lived experiences. Through the assistant commissioner program, we have been able to bring in new talent, that will help shape our scripted slate over the coming years.”
The assistant commissioner program has been funded by Sky as part of a £30 million ($36 million) commitment to tackle structural inequality, support diversity and inclusion and to make a difference in communities impacted by racism. As part of this, the company is aiming for 20% of employees at Sky in the U.K. and Ireland to be from Black, Asian or minority ethnic background by 2025, with at least a quarter of these to be Black.
Pictured, clockwise from top left: Isaac Nartey, Sabrina Parmar, Leanne Cosby, Ziyaad Desai, Sholla Caramba-Coker, Gilberte Phanor.