BBC Studios hires Netflix exec to lead kids & family development

Edward Barnieh

BBC Studios Kids & Family has appointed Netflix exec Edward Barnieh as VP of development and promoted Alexandra McGrail to head of commercial.

Barnieh and McGrail will both report to Cecilia Persson, MD of BBC Studios Kids & Family, in these two newly created senior roles, which form part of the division’s restructure designed to support its growth ambitions.

Barnieh will lead a team across a large portfolio of development projects, providing creative direction across multiple genres, managing transition from development to production – while assessing marketplace opportunities and risks.

London-based Barnieh joins BBC Studios on 21 November, from Netflix, where his roles included manager, animation series, EMEA, based in London and manager, international originals, kids & family, APAC, based in Singapore.

Alexandra McGrail

Prior to that he spent seven years at the-now Warner Bros. Discovery in Hong Kong, where he was latterly director, acquisitions and co-productions; and over five years at Nickelodeon.

Salford-based McGrail, meanwhile, now heads up a commercial and business development team, identifying and securing commercial opportunities for kids’ content and managing the total commercial Kids & Family budget.

She has been upped from her role as senior commercial manager, BBC Studios, which she took up in May 2021 on her return to the BBC, having previously been business manager for BBC Children’s in 2015.

Prior to re-joining the BBC, she was senior commercial manager at Argonon, commercial manager at Leopard Pictures and an editor at Channel 4.

“Our ambition is to deliver high quality content that leaves a lasting impression and has the power to make a difference to the lives of kids and their families everywhere. Attracting the very best talent, forging creative partnerships and focusing on making programming that reflects and inspires children will help us achieve this,” said Persson. “I’m delighted that Edward and Alexandra will be using their considerable talent and experience to help deliver our ambition.”

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