The Story Lab staffs up, opens new offices

Production and distribution group The Story Lab has hired seasoned execs to run new international offices, hired a permanent formats chief, and opened a new office in the UK as part of aggressive expansion plans, TBI has learned.

Tnuno santoBI understands that The Story Lab is also looking for an exec to run a new scripted division, as it preps a move into drama.

Nuno Santos – the former RTP, SIC and Multichoice exec – has joined to run a newly-created Iberia and Sub-Saharan Africa operation for The Story Lab, which is part of advertising agency Dentsu Aegis.

Santos is a 25-year industry veteran, having worked in numerous roles at Portuguese pubcaster RTP, including director of programming. He was also head of content at SIC in Portugal, and then moved to the African pay TV operator Multichoice, where he was content manager.

sinead o'connorStory Lab is also opening a new Irish office, with local industry veteran Sinead O’Connor heading up the operation. She has worked at TV3 and RTÉ, as well as setting up her own consultancy.

“As an investor of premium entertainment content, The Story Lab is also committed to investing in top level talent, who join us at an exciting time in our development,” said Michael Iskas, president of The Story Lab.

“The wealth of experience and network of contacts that Nuno and Sinead bring to the team will be hugely valuable as we continue to expand our global footprint.”

Luci BurnleyThe Story Lab has also added Luci Burnley as its global formats director.

The former Banijay and Small World IFT formats expert has been consulting for The Story Lab, but now joined the team on a permanent basis and will run the group’s unscripted business.

The Story Lab was set up two years ago and has a content fund for original formats, which it then distributes internationally. It has the international rights to Ninja Warrior and has acquired Indian entertainment format Street Stars from Grey Matter.

nik wheatleyIt is in the throes of securing a raft of new formats and wants to have a 20-strong slate of primetime entertainment shows by end-2017.

The UK operation is also expanding, with Nik Wheatley joining from ITV to open a new Manchester office.

Michael McCoy, executive officer of The Story Lab UK, said: “I am delighted that we are attracting such brilliant new talent into the business with such great broadcaster knowledge and people who have excellent reputations in both creative and commercial space.”

This comes after TBI revealed in March that Endemol Shine Group formats acquisitions chief Erik de Winter had joined Denstu Aegis Network to help launch The Story Lab’s Dutch arm.