BBC Studios has announced the launch of a production arm in Australia, with its first commissioned project set to be for the ABC.
Stargazing Live 2 will be the first commission for BBC Studios in Australia, following the announcement that BBC Worldwide and BBC Studios are to form a single commercial organisation called BBC Studios from 1 April 2018.
The multi-platform TV event, which inspires the nation to ‘look up’ and appreciate the unique wonders of space and our cosmos, will be produced for the ABC locally by an expert team from BBC Studios’ science unit in the UK.
The BBC Studios’ science unit format was first produced by the same team as a three-day event for ABC by FremantleMedia Australia in March last year.
Lisa Opie, managing director of factual at BBC Studios, said: “We’re delighted to be working so closely with ABC on Stargazing Live 2 after the huge success of last year’s program.
“Stargazing is science programming at its very best, and Andrew Cohen and his brilliant team in the science unit have enjoyed evolving and developing the format specifically for ABC’s audience.”
Steve Bibb, head of factual at the ABC, said: “Stripped over three nights, Stargazing Live was a new kind of event programming for ABC in 2017.
“It reached an incredible number of Australians right across all our platforms and on social media. Our viewers even discovered a new solar system in a major citizen science project.
“ABC is thrilled to be working closely with BBC Studios to make Stargazing Live an even bigger and more exciting event this year.”
BBC Studios has also announced its intention to appoint a director of production for its production arm in Australia.
This role will be tasked with launching and managing the growth of TV production in Australia, building creative partnerships between BBC Studios’ editorial teams in the UK and Aussie broadcasters, driving the creation of new intellectual property and exploiting the potential of BBC Worldwide’s format catalogue.
The new director of production will report into the international production division which, from April, will be led by BBC Studios’ Anna Mallett.
The role will also form part of the Australian and New Zealand executive management team. Jon Penn, managing director of BBC Worldwide for Australia and NZ, will continue to lead the company in this territory as it transitions to BBC Studios in April.
Mallett said: “This commission with ABC is an exciting first step for BBC Studios production in Australia, and we look forward to more collaborations as we bring our editorial creativity to new audiences.”
Penn added: “The new BBC Studios has got off to a great start in Australia with the Stargazing Live 2 commission, and this new role will spearhead the growth of our Australian production arm.
“We’re looking forward to producing more of our own formats and programs for local clients, who already broadcast many of the quality shows that our expert BBC production colleagues make.”