Starz appoints int’l networks chief as Superna Kalle departs


US network Starz has promoted Darren Nielson to EVP of international networks to replace Superna Kalle, who will exit the company in March.

Nielson will report directly to president and CEO Jeffrey Hirsch and will become responsible for the growth of the international division’s newly rebranded Lionsgate+, (fka StarzPlay) including all aspects of programming, distribution, marketing and publicity in the UK, Latin America and Brazil, Canada and Australia.

Superna Kalle

Joining Lionsgate-owned Starz in 2018 from Netflix, where he served as director of content acquisition, Nielson has so far been leading the international distribution and business development for the Starz-branded digital and linear services and channels.

He has worked closely with Kalle to develop growth strategies, identify and evaluate partner opportunities, and source and negotiate distribution agreements with in-territory partners. Prior to Netflix, Nielson held business development positions at Sony Pictures Television and Ascent Media.

Kalle, meanwhile, also joined Starz in 2018 and was promoted to president of international networks in 2021. Since joining the company, she has led the global expansion of Lionsgate+, which is home to shows such as political thriller Gaslit.

Darren Nielson

Prior to joining Starz, Kalle was an advisor to media companies including CBS/Showtime. She had previously spent 16 years at Sony Pictures Television (SPT) as SVP & GM, launching numerous networks including Sony Movie Channel and Cine Sony Television, its Spanish-language movie network.

“Darren has been instrumental in building our international business working with Superna since joining the company in 2018. He has a deep knowledge of the global streaming landscape and is a respected strategic executive, said Hirsch.

“Superna did a great job in rapidly scaling an international service from the ground up, forming many new distribution partnerships and building a robust slate of international original series. We are grateful for her leadership and dedication to the company and wish her continued success,” he added.

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