betty To Open US Office Headed By Discovery Production Executive Jon Sechrist
UK TV indie betty announced today the launch of a U.S. production arm and has appointed Discovery Networks International veteran Jon Sechrist to lead betty U.S. as Senior Vice President and Head of Production & Development.
Sechrist joins betty later this month and will be tasked with overseeing the current developing production slate including The Undateables, The Food Inspectors, Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners, The Food Hospital, Kings of the Wild and Too Ugly for Love? and future hit programs for the U.S. market and global audiences, as well as originating new ideas for both factual and factual entertainment shows. He will report into betty’s co-Managing Directors, Neil Smith and Matthew Littleford, and will be based in New York.
“betty creates high-quality television with formats and story lines that can translate to the U.S. market, creating new hit series while broadening their own audience beyond the UK,” said Lee Bartlett, president of The Studios Group for Discovery, which oversees betty. “Jon’s contributions to Discovery Networks International are invaluable and his expertise in the lifestyle and factual entertainment genres make him the ideal leader for betty’s U.S. operation.”
Neil Smith, managing director, betty, said: “With an increasing appetite for formats it’s the perfect time for us to deliver betty's brand of quality popular factual programming to the U.S. Jon has an acute understanding of global markets and a sharp mind for what makes a hit show across lifestyle and factual. Having previously worked with us as a commissioner he was the perfect choice to set up our new office and we are delighted that he is joining the team.”
Jon Sechrist said: "I've finally met the right girl for me and her name is betty. At a time when content is so accessible, yet highly competitive, I can't wait to jump into the creative trenches with Neil and Matthew. betty has built a talented, collaborative team and I'm happy to be part of the family birthing her latest child in the US."
In Sechrist’s current role of vice president - production and development, Discovery Networks International, he oversees the global production community to develop and produce lifestyle/factual/entertainment shows and manages content partnerships with Discovery’s U.S. portfolio including Discovery Channel, TLC, ID: Investigation Discovery, OWN, Destination America and DiscoveryLife.
His hit track record includes popular factual entertainment series Cake Boss, Sister Wives, Next Great Baker, My Naked Secret, Bizarre ER, NY Ink, BBQ Pitmasters, Body Bizarre and highly rated specials, 650 lb Virgin, Child Frozen in Time and Little Looking for Love. Sechrist has also produced and developed popular scripted soap operas, All My Children, One Life to Live, Noah’s Arc and festival favourite film, Were the World Mine.
Prior to joining Discovery, Sechrist worked as a programming executive at ABC Daytime and MTV Networks, where he was a key part of the creative start-up teams who launched MTV.com, MTV2 and Logo.
betty makes high quality, prime-time, factual entertainment, features, specialist factual, documentary and adventure shows including Heston’s Great British Food, The Undateables, Bear Grylls: Mission Survive, Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners and The Fabulous Baker Brothers. In 2011 betty was bought by Discovery Communications. Its shows have been sold to more than 63 countries worldwide and it supplies to major UK terrestrial broadcasters including BBC One, BBC Two, BBC three, ITV, Channel Four, TLC and Discovery.