Ex-Discovery, Nat Geo chief to run prodco body

Former Discovery Channel and National Geographic Channel boss John Ford is to run an American unscripted programming trade body.

John FordFord (left) has been named general manager of the Non-Fiction Producers Association, a non-profit group that looks after unscripted producers and documentary makers.

He will oversee the year-old body while remaining as head of programming at new US digital multicast channel Justice Network.

Ford storied career saw him hold posts such as president of content at Discovery Networks, founding president of Discovery Health Channel, general manager of TLC, executive VP of programming at Nat Geo Channel between 3002 and 2007, and president and GM of Discovery Channel between 2007 and 2009.

He has run a consultancy, John Ford Media, since 2011, providing services to the likes of Nat Geo, TNT, ABC and Travel Channel, and several unscripted prodcos in the US. In January, he was named programming chief at Justice.

“John Ford has been instrumental in the evolution of the unscripted television business,” the NPA’s board of directors said a prepared statement. “His measured, hands-on approach helped establish several global TV networks, while his creativity and expertise as a programmer puts him in sync with the prolific producers who make up the NPA.

“John’s proven leadership experience combined with immense talent and perspective make him ideal to lead the Nonfiction Producers Association at this pivotal time in our industry.”

“Having worked over the course of 30 years as both a network and creative executive, I know first-hand how critical it is to nurture and maintain independent production,” said Ford. “The unscripted business is unique in demanding that producers be creative and collaborative, and outstanding entrepreneurs.

“So many of today’s hit shows hail from members of the NPA, and I applaud the entire membership for their contributions to unscripted television; these are the risk-takers who built an industry from the ground up. I’m eager to continue the work of this essential association as it grows and endeavors to keep the unscripted business thriving.”