Former BBC drama controller Ben Stephenson is to launch a new transatlantic scripted label within ITV Studios.
Since 2015 Stephenson has been Head of Television at J.J. Abrams’ television and film production company Bad Robot Productions in California, responsible for developing and executive producing the television slate.
Stephenson’s new label will be based in London and Los Angeles and will focus on high end premium drama.
Notable hits under his tenure at Bad Robot include the multi-series sci-fi title Westworld, The Emmy nominated LoveCraft Country both at HBO, Stephen King’s Lisey’s Story with Julianne Moore and Little Voice at Apple, Castlerock at Hulu, UFO at Showtime and Challenger at Netflix, as well as upcoming series My Glory Was That I had Such Friends and Presumed Innocent at Apple.
Prior to this, Stephenson spent nine years at the BBC where he held the role of Controller of Drama Commissioning, overseeing 450 hours of drama a year. During his time at the BBC, Stephenson backed shows including the creation of international BBC hits such as Luther, Sherlock, The Fall, Line of Duty, Happy Valley, Top of the Lake and Peaky Blinders.
Stephenson also received the Royal Television Society special recognition Judges’ Award for his extraordinary contribution to the genre.
The label will have teams based in both the UK and the US, with Stephenson splitting his time between the two. Distribution for the new label will be led by ITV Studios. In LA, Ben will be supported by ITV Studios U.S. studio infrastructure under the leadership of Philippe Maigret.
Ben Stephenson said: “I have had the most amazing time at Bad Robot and will be forever grateful to JJ, Katie and Brian and the whole team at Bad Robot, as well as our partners at Warners. It’s been a once in a lifetime opportunity and I have truly never learnt so much or worked with such kind and talented partners. I will miss everyone profoundly. But now is the time to forge my own company and I am very grateful to Julian and the whole team at ITV Studios for supporting my ambition to create a genuinely international company in the US and the UK.”
Julian Bellamy, Managing Director ITV Studios added: “Ben is one of the most talented drama executives in the business. His fingerprints are across some of the best, most memorable drama series in global television from Westworld to Sherlock. I’m delighted ITV Studios will be Ben’s partner for his next big chapter – an ambitious new transatlantic venture dedicated to producing truly world class drama.”
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