Discovery moves factual exec to Betty

Discovery Networks International’s VP of production and development for factual, Helen Hawken, has moved across to subsidiary prodco Betty.

Helen Hawken picHawken has been appointed director of programmes at the UK-based producer, which Discovery acquired in 2011.

This comes after Duncan Coates exited the role to join Seven Network-backed producer 7 Wonder as its first creative director.

Hawken takes up her new post in March next year, where she will oversee a slate of programmes including The Undateables, Bear Grylls: Mission Survive and Everest Rescue, the latter of which she commissioned.

She will oversee production and work with managing directors Neil Smith and Matthew Littleford on new business opportunities.

At DNI, Discovery Communications’ international arm where she spent four years, Hawken also commissioned shows such as Marooned with Ed Stafford, Into the Unknown and Robson Green Extreme Fisherman.

Before that, she was executive producer on shows such as House of Tiny Tearaways and Young, Dumb and Living Off Mum for UK digital net BBC Three. She also series-edited Big Brother and Celebrity Big Brother when they were on Channel 4.

“Helen’s vast breadth and experience of programme making and commissioning – from Big Brother to blue chip natural history – will prove invaluable to betty as a portfolio company,” said Smith.

The news comes soon after DNI revealed Britain-based international content chief Majorie Kaplan was exiting, with UK and Ireland channels chief Susanna Dinnage taking on her duties.

That change came as DNI moves away from a centralised content production hub model to one that sees its various regional divisions creating more programming.

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