Banijay hires HBO Max alum as global scripted chief to replace Lars Blomgren

Bron/The Bridge

Banijay has appointed former HBO Max commissioner Christian Wikander to lead its global scripted efforts, replacing Lars Blomgren who is departing the French group to join The Morning Show prodco, Media Res.

Wikander will become global head of scripted for Banijay from 1 May, with a remit to lead “strategic IP creation” and to increase collaboration across the group’s drama firms, as well as exploiting format potential and identifying third-party acquisitions.

Christian Wikander

He had been commissioning editor & VP at HBO Max in the Nordics since 2020, working across the streamer’s originals from the region.

Wikander departed in August after Warner Bros. Discovery ended HBO Max’s originals play across swathes of Europe, resulting in the departure of numerous execs under its EMEA chief Antony Root, as revealed by TBI.

Prior to that, Wikander had been MD at London-based Twelve Town (fka Pinewood Television) and also held roles including head of drama at Swedish pubcaster SVT.

Media Res reels in Blomgren

Wikander reports to Banijay CEO Marco Bassetti and is replacing Blomgren, who is moving to a new international division of Pachinko prodco, Media Res.

Lars Blomgren

Blomgren, who worked during his time at Banijay with Media Res CEO Michael Ellenberg on Scenes From A Marriage, will lead Media Res International and is tasked with creating series across genres from non-US creators. He will take up his new role after formally stepping down at Banijay on 1 May next year.

The exec had been in his most recent role since September 2020, having previously held a similar position for two years at Endemol Shine Group, prior to its acquisition by Banijay. Blomgren’s remit covered almost 140 scripted series, ranging from Black Mirror and Peaky Blinders, to Dark, Bron, Penoza, Caliphate, Beforeigners and Caliphate.

He joined Endemol Shine from Nordic production firm Filmlance International.

Ellenberg said: “Our goal in launching this new division is to collaborate with international creators, filmmakers and producers on innovative, daring and arresting series for global audiences.

“Lars’ exceptional taste, experience and perspective make him the ideal person to lead our efforts as we expand in this vital space.”

On Wikander’s appointment, Bassetti said: “Having been a commissioner, managing director and producer, Christian has demonstrated not only his immense creative talent and agility as a leader, but importantly, his natural eye for recog-nising a story with international potential.

“With him in place, we feel we have further opportunity to grow our premium scripted offering and heighten Banijay’s reputation as a leader in both local and English-language dramas that connect audiences worldwide.”

Banijay’s scripted slate includes SAS: Rogue Heroes for the BBC, Marie Antoinette for Canal+, Ronja for Viaplay and Bosé for Paramount+, among numerous others.

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