WarnerMedia hires Talpa Network exec to lead HBO Max unscripted commissioning in EMEA

Annelies Sitvast

WarnerMedia has hired the head of Talpa Network’s Dutch channel Net 5 to lead its unscripted commissioning efforts for soon-to-launch streamer HBO Max, which rolls out in the region later this year.

Annelies Sitvast takes the newly created role of head of unscripted production at WarnerMedia EMEA and will commission unscripted programming for the streamer. She takes up the role in May from Amsterdam and reports into Antony Root, head of original production for WarnerMedia EMEA.

Sitvast was previously commissioning editor for Net 5, overseeing content strategy and brand development, including all original programming, production and scheduling.

Antony Root

Prior to that, she was channel coordinator at Net 5 and also spent seven years at SBS Broadcasting as senior acquisitions executive.

HBO Max confirmed earlier this year that it would be launching in 60 countries outside of the US this year, including 21 countries in Europe. The streamer has already commissioned a raft of unscripted product for its existing service in the US, including Fremantle’s comedy format Tattletales and a baking show from B17 Entertainment.

WarnerMedia already operates HBO streaming platforms and linear channels in 21 countries across the Nordics, Iberia and Central and Eastern Europe, for which it has commissioned original programming for more than a decade. Much of this has been scripted-focused however, with shows such as horror 30 Coins, drama Patria and comedy Vamos Juan.

All original TV production in Europe at WarnerMedia now sits in the recently formed original programming group, led by Root.

He said Sitvast would “bring a wealth of experience from the world of unscripted programming” and work with local teams to “steer our expansion into unscripted across Europe, which is a key part of our original production strategy as we launch HBO Max across the region.”

Sitvast added: “I could not be more excited to build, launch and grow a European unscripted content offering for HBO Max. WarnerMedia has a rich history of investing in local talent and programming and has been building beloved and iconic brands for near to a century. I could think of no better foundation on which to build an unscripted programming pipeline as the company looks to expand HBO Max’s offering.”

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