Factual indie, Rare TV, has announced that writer, story consultant and executive producer Greg Chivers has been appointed to the newly created role of US showrunner.

A second creative hire sees development producer Abigail Keyes join the company’s Belfast-based team.

Chivers joins the international team at Rare TV, working alongside vice-president of US development Christian Broadhurst and reporting to CEO Alexander Gardiner. He starts work immediately as exec producer of the fourth series of Ice Airport Alaska, Smithsonian Channel’s hit show about the daily challenges confronting the staff at Anchorage’s Ted Stevens Airport.

Chivers joins Rare TV from Discovery Inc, where he served as story consultant, providing editorial leadership to US and overseas production partners. Prior to this, he worked as executive producer and senior vice-president of Wag Entertainment, where his numerous credits included NASA’s Unexplained Files, Discovery Science’s What on Earth? and Discovery Quest’s Combat Dealers. Chivers is also a published novelist. His debut novel, The Crying Machine, was published by HarperCollins in 2019 and was shortlisted for a Neukom Institute Literary Arts Award.

Abigail Keyes, meanwhile, is joining Rare TV’s rapidly expanding Belfast office, which is moving into larger premises next month to service its production pipeline. Keyes, who joins colleague Stephen McVey in the development team, was recently named among The Edinburgh TV Festival’s Ones To Watch cohort. Her CV includes development roles for Two Rivers, Afro-Mic and Hungry Bear.

Alexander Gardiner, CEO of Rare TV, said: “Greg is a hugely experienced exec who brings real ballast to our team. He’s a creative heavyweight, but he also really cares about safety and wellbeing, which is invaluable, given that a lot of our filming is done in remote and inaccessible areas. He’s a great addition to the Rare TV team — as is Abigail, who positively fizzes with fresh ideas, energy and enthusiasm. As we bounce back from the pandemic, Abigail feels like a ray of sunshine.”

Elsewhere in Alaska, Rare TV is also in production on a second series of Life On The Edge, for the Outdoor Channel, whilst in the UK, they are producing Who Killed Lin and Megan Russell? for Sky Crime and a third series of Expert Witness for BBC 1. The second series of Hornby: A Model World aired recently on UKTV’s Yesterday channel, while BBC One’s Digging for Britain, fronted by Professor Alice Roberts, has just finished its 10th successful season.

Jon Creamer

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