BBC Studios appoints exec roles for International Formats & Production

At MIPCOM 2022, BBC Studios announced the appointments of Fiona Wassenberg as Head of BBC Studios Benelux Production and Isabel Durán as Format Sales Director for Iberia and Latin America. The appointments are made as BBC Studios continues to grow its business in these markets, and seeks opportunities to develop new IP for international audiences.

Based in Amsterdam, Fiona Wassenberg is responsible for BBC Studios’ formats and production business across Benelux. Fiona will work closely with BBC Studios’ unscripted format partners in the market, Fremantle, as well as commissioners and producers in the region to unlock future commercial and creative growth.

Prior to joining BBC Studios Fiona spent nearly 16 years at the Dutch public broadcaster, Omroep MAX most recently as commissioning editor and content acquisitions, with editorial responsibility for Omroep MAX’s content across NPO1, NPO2 and ZAPP including local versions of Four In a Bed, Four Rooms, and The Great Bake Off known locally as Heel Holland Bakt, which is now in its tenth season.

Fiona Wassenberg said: “For the past ten years I have had the opportunity to work closely with BBC Studios and their partner Fremantle on the local version of The Great Bake Off, Junior Bake Off and Extra Slice. I’m thrilled to be joining BBC Studios, working on these and many other of the strong formats and brands from their catalogue. I am proud to use the knowledge I’ve gained, while working with numerous amazing production companies and public broadcaster colleagues, in my new position.”

Since 2018, the production partnership between BBC Studios and Fremantle has brought local versions of hit formats such as The Great Bake Off, Weakest Link, The 1% Club, and This is MY House to the Netherlands, and Dancing with the Stars to Belgium. Local versions of Maestro, How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?, and World’s Most Dangerous Roads, also air in the Netherlands.

As Format Sales Director for Iberia and Latin America, Isabel Durán is responsible for securing both unscripted and scripted format sales across Spain, Portugal and Spanish-speaking Latin America. The role builds on recent commissions of The 1% Club with Atresmedia in Spain, The Great Bake Off in Argentina, Colombia, Mexico and Uruguay, Dancing with the Stars in Costa Rica, and scripted comedy Uncle across the US Hispanic market and Latin America.

Isabel has more than 20 years of experience in development, production and as director of content. As executive producer she has worked on series such as Married at First Sight for Antena 3 and El líder de la Manada with César Millán for Cuatro. As director of content for Eyeworks (now Warner), she was responsible for two of the most successful primetime TV shows for La Sexta and Cuatro networks, Mujeres Ricas and Perdidos en la tribu. As director of development for Atresmedia Studios and Buendia Estudios, she developed game show format, Before you hit the Floor, which was the 2020 MIP Formats International Pitch Winner.

Isabel Durán said: “I am pleased to join BBC Studios and use my knowledge and experience to bring fantastic new stories and entertainment to audiences across Iberia and Latin America. I am looking forward to building new partnerships and meeting customers during MIPCOM ”

Commenting on the new appointments, André Renaud, SVP Global Format Sales said: “I’m delighted to have both Fiona and Isabel joining BBC Studios as we continue to grow our expertise in key markets around the world. Both Fiona and Isabel bring a wealth of experience in their regions, and I am confident that this will build to strong partnerships across Europe and Latin America in the months to come. These appointments represent our commitment and ambition to work closely to find stories and shows that can be adapted worldwide, building on BBC Studios’ 100 years of expertise that we continue to support and share around the world.”

New formats being presented to buyers at MIPCOM 2022 include:

Hungry for It (8 x 60’)

A group of young cooks eager to break into the food industry, live together and compete for a career-making prize. 10 amateur cooks, two mentors, and two very different kitchens. The aim? Make the ordinary extraordinary. The cooks who most impress in the Level-Up challenge make it to ‘The Restaurant’, where they can win career-boosting opportunities; but fail to amaze, and they must fight for survival in ‘The Pop-Up’ where they risk elimination at the hands of their fellow cooks and mentors in Knives Out. Who will make it all the way to the prize of a lifetime – a globetrotting trip, working in some of the world’s best restaurants? Cook hard, play hard. Who’s hungry for it? A BBC Studios Production.

Dating with my Mates (10 x 60’)

Four best friends, who are all looking for love, agree to take part in an innovative dating experiment where they will date three other singles TOGETHER. In this unique shared dating experience, the mates ALL go to ONE dinner where they will meet three delicious dates. Same restaurant, same table, same time. And with each course comes a new potential date - but who will the mates like and which of the dates will return to ask one of them for a second date? The dates may all choose the same mate, they may each choose someone different, but the question is - will the mates say yes? With great play-along for the audience, Dating with my Mates is not just a dating show, it’s a universal love letter to friendship. A Harbar 8 and BBC Studios Production.

Art on the Brain (6 x 60’)

A unique social experiment to test if the simple act of creativity can help heal the invisible wounds of poor mental health. Over 900m people worldwide are living with mental health issues and the global pandemic only made things worse. Every year, 1 in 4 people experience mental health issues. In this ambitious social experiment, backed by science - 7 strangers aim to better their lives through art, expertly guided by a psychotherapist and acclaimed artists. Fun, creative and immersive, they try their hands at painting, music, mixed media and photography. But can the power of creativity help heal their minds? A BBC Studios ANZ production.

Denmark Saves The Planet (50')

The search for a solution to end climate change. In this brand new competition format, a number of contributors pitch their solutions to end climate change to a panel of expert judges. No idea is too big or too small, and every idea provides hope and inspiration. To qualify, an idea must receive three green lights from the judges, and the best idea from each of the heats goes through to the final where one winner will receive a cash prize to support their proposed solution. One ground-breaking cash prize. One chance to save the planet. Format created by Hans Jorgen Juncker and Louise Juncker von Haffner for BBC Studios Nordics.

Hire Me (30')

Three talented candidates compete for a fast track into the career of their dreams in a supersized job interview. Competing against each other, three young hopefuls have just one shot to impress the boss and kick-start their career with a real job offer, whether that’s as a radio producer, football coach, interior designer or event planner. The candidates’ abilities are well and truly put to the test over two tough challenges designed and overseen by their potential future boss. With real clients, big responsibility and huge pressure - anything can happen in the ultimate job interview.

A BBC Studios Factual Entertainment production.

Ragdoll (6 x 45')

Three detectives. Six victims. One body. Can they catch the Ragdoll killer? Six people have been murdered, dismembered and sewn into one grotesque body – the ‘Ragdoll’. Assigned to the shocking case are Detective Superintendent Nathan Rose; his best friend and boss, Detective Inspector Emily Baxter; and new recruit, Detective Constable Lake Edmunds. And with people to protect, our heroes soon come under intense public scrutiny with the added pressure of the killer taunting them by including Nathan on his list of next victims. A darkly witty and gruesomely imaginative psychological thriller, Ragdoll also focusses on friendships struggling with the consequences of institutionalisation and trauma. A Sid Gentle Films production for AMC and UKTV.

Life After Life (4 x 60')

A thought-provoking look at how we choose to live our lives. What if you could live again and again until you finally got it right? One snowy night in 1910 Ursula Todd is born, and dies before taking her first breath. That same night, Ursula is reborn and survives. So begins this story of fate and second chances as Ursula navigates momentous events of the 20th century, through two world wars, the Spanish flu and an encounter with Hitler. As Ursula throws herself into each new life, she faces fresh challenges and half-memories of past lives. But can history be changed? And what is it that Ursula so desperately needs to stay alive for? House Productions for BBC.

Cheaters (18 x 10' or 6 x 30')

A sexy, messy comedy-drama about morality, monogamy and everything in between. A chance meeting after a cancelled flight leads to an unlikely night of drunken airport-hotel sex between late-twenties strangers Fola and Josh. The next morning, as they rush to make the rescheduled flight, both admit they already have a partner. They agree their night of passion was a mistake and go their separate ways. But life gets messy when Josh arrives home to discover Fola is his new neighbour. Brilliantly bold, Cheaters takes on the thorny issues of guilt, sex and relationships in a refreshingly frank, funny and modern way. A Clerkenwell Films production for BBC Studios and Anton.

Life and Death in the Warehouse (1 x 60' over one series)

Powerful drama, informed by in-depth research, that exposes the punishing working conditions in online retail warehouses. Megan has landed a great job as a manager in logistics. She’ll be training at a vast warehouse, where pickers work long and intense hours to meet the ceaseless online demand. Initially thrilled to be managing a childhood friend, Megan soon learns there’s no time for friendship here. In fact, there’s barely time to breathe. To keep her job, Megan must push her team to their limits – with devastating results. This is a hard-hitting drama about the unseen world of online retail fulfilment centres – and a thought-provoking glimpse into the not-too-distant future. A BBC Studios production for BBC and BBC Wales.

The Witchfinder (6 x 30')

A fiendish comedy about an odd couple in a very odd time. It's 1647. A fear of witchcraft is prevalent, and Gabriel Bannister - a small-time witchfinder - dreams of being one of the big boys. And now he's got his chance - an untimely death means there's an opening at the top. All he has to do is transport unruly witch suspect Thomasine Gooch to trial. The trouble is she's the worst travelling companion in all the land: an inquisitive, uncouth woman whose ability to ask uncomfortable questions and deflate his ego turns a straightforward journey into a life-changing ordeal. It's going to be a bumpy journey. A Baby Cow production for BBC. Distributed by BBC Studios.

Chivalry (6 x 30')

The complex state of contemporary sexual politics is satirised in this timely comedy drama. Acclaimed film producer, Cameron, needs to detoxify his latest movie or face ruin. Bobby, an ambitious feminist filmmaker, has what he needs to save the project. All they need to do is reshoot an inappropriate sex scene. How hard can it be? But as Bobby and Cameron bounce between gender tension and a creeping attraction, a toxic sex scene becomes the tip of the iceberg. Who really knows how to navigate modern-day sex? How fluid are our politics and how political are our fluids? A Baby Cow production for Channel 4. Distributed by BBC Studios.

Here We Go (6 x 30')

Nothing ever goes according to plan for the Jessops – and son Sam has caught it all on camera in this smart new comedy. The Jessops get things a little bit wrong – a lot of the time. And youngest son Sam documents their highs and lows as they navigate life’s everyday challenges – changing careers, keeping the romance alive, adopting a healthier lifestyle, kidnapping a dog, destroying a swimming pool and sabotaging a wedding. Although nothing quite goes to plan, their indomitable spirit sees them find moments of unexpected delight among the disappointment, and laughing in the face of disaster. With a home-movie feel and an innovative use of time, each episode offers an intimate, observed and absurd exposé of a modern family. BBC Studios Comedy Productions. Distributed by BBC Studios.


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