Former Netflix and BBC Studios (BBCS) exec Chris Sussman has struck a first-look deal to develop scripted projects with Banijay UK, as part of its recently launched £50m ($60m) Growth Fund.
Sussman will work with labels across Patrick Holland’s UK arm to produce new original scripted projects, having stepped down as Netflix’s director of UK scripted last year.
During that three-year stint, he worked on shows including Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror and Stay Close, the Cush Jumbo and Jimmy Nesbitt-starring drama based on Harlan Coben novel.
Before that, Sussman had been head of scripted comedy at BBCS from 2016 to 2019, overseeing Trying for Apple TV+, This Country for BBC Three and Good Omens for Amazon and BBC Two, among numerous others. He was also a commissioning executive for BBC Comedy and worked with Holland, who left the UK pubcaster in 2021 to join Banijay.
Sussman’s BBC credits range from Fleabag and People Just Do Nothing to Charlie Brooker’s Weekly Wipe and Motherland. He also spent a decade as an executive producer and producer on comedy and entertainment projects for UK production companies.
Holland, CEO at Banijay UK, said: “The UK Growth Fund was set up to enable us to attract exciting names like Chris to business, so I’m delighted to be able to announce this deal.”
Sussman added: “I loved working with Patrick when he was controller of BBC Two and am excited to see what else we can develop together. Nobody seems to be returning my phone calls now I’m not in commissioning anymore, but I’m sure that’s just a problem with my mobile network and it will all be sorted soon…”
Banijay UK’s £50m Growth Fund was revealed in February and aims to fuel growth in scripted, reality, premium documentaries and factual entertainment over the next 3-5 years.
It aims to allow Holland to invest directly in up-and-coming businesses, to enable existing labels to grow into new genres by adding key creatives and to pursue partnerships with talent. Banijay UK houses firms ranging from Kudos and the recently acquired Mam Tor Productions, to Tiger Aspect and Yellow Bird UK.