ITV Entertainment appoints new president & SVP development in formats push

Simon Thomas

ITV America has promoted veteran unscripted producer Simon Thomas to president of ITV Entertainment and head of international programming, while also elevating Michelle Byars to SVP of development at ITV Entertainment.

The appointments at ITV Entertainment, which is one of six production labels under ITV America, are part of the parent company’s “enhanced commitment to making global formats and international production the keystone of its strategic growth plan.”

ITV Entertainment is behind formats such as Queer EyeLove IslandHell’s Kitchen and The Chase and sits alongside fellow ITV America production labels including Leftfield Pictures, Sirens Media, Thinkfactory Media, High Noon Entertainment, and Good Caper Content.

Reporting to ITV America CCO David Eilenberg, Thomas will run ITV Entertainment’s development and production slate of original series and international formats. He will also oversee production of any ITV America series sold to US buyers and produced abroad.

Michelle Byars

During his time at ITV America, he has executive produced all three US seasons of Love Island, as well as new series like My Mom, Your Dad and the upcoming Rat in the Kitchen.

Prior to that, he worked on shows such as I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! for UK broadcaster ITV, and the original UK version of Love Island, as well as Big Brother and Beauty and the Geek for Australia’s Network 10 and Channel 7, respectively.

Byars, meanwhile, is promoted from VP to SVP and will now work closely with Thomas as she lead on ITV Entertainment’s slate of series in the works, and also develop and adapt global formats for the US.

Previously at Turner Entertainment, she helped relaunch TBS’s unscripted business with Drop the Mic, Snoop Dogg Presents The Joker’s WildThe Misery Index and Shaq Life.

“With Simon leading ITV Entertainment and spearheading international for ITV America, and Michelle driving development, ITVE is perfectly positioned to bring exciting new formats and franchises to buyers and audiences worldwide,” said Eilenberg.

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