Lionsgate has named 20-year industry vet Ted Bookstaver to lead its alternative programming sales team, the media co has confirmed. The SVP job is newly created and marks the third key appointment in the past four weeks.
In the new role, Bookstaver will assume responsibility for licensing Lionsgate’s alternative programming to broadcast, cable, SVOD and digital buyers around the world, and reflects the company’s growing stake in international television distribution.
Before joining Lionsgate, Bookstaver served as VP of international distribution at Dick Clark Productions. He was earlier SVP and head of Americas at Shine International, where he managed and led the Americas’ sales and acquisition activities.
Previously, he spearheaded global distribution efforts at Eyeworks International Distribution, and also had an eight-year tenure at CBS/King World Productions, where he oversaw the global licensing, production and programming of game and reality formats, including blockbusters Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy!, Hollywood Squares, as well as The Oprah Winfrey Show.
Bookstaver joins the company as it continues to strengthen its executive ranks. Recently, Lionsgate upped Agapy Kapouranis to a new EVP position what will see her focus on international SVOD sales, managing content licensing across international markets, evaluating opportunities on a case-by-case basis. She’ll also oversee licensing in Canada.
In April, the company’s U.K. branch named former exec eOne Charlotte Thorp as SVP president and head of sales for the European market.
In an earlier interview with StreamDaily, Jim Packer, president worldwide television and digital distribution at Lionsgate, talked about the importance of global distribution and licensing, calling it “a key part of our strategy for our new shows and existing library.”
“When you look at the way Netflix expanded and Amazon is trending, there are more and more decisions that have to be made on shows, films, and individual projects, short form and long form – on whether you should go with a global deal or if you should try to go market by market,” he said.
Lionsgate began incubating an unscripted content business years ago under the direction of alt programming VP Brian Tannenbaum. Jennifer O’Connell has continued to build on that momentum since joining the company as EVP of alternative programming last year, and Lionsgate’s November acquisition of a majority stake in the indie prodco Pilgrim Media Group is intended to further accelerate that growth. The non-fiction library now encompasses nearly 50 reality series and a roster of producers that includes Matt Kunitz (executive producer of Fear Factor, Wipeout), Eli Frankel(Project Runway), Jonathan Karsh (My Five Wives) and Adam DiVello (The Hills).
Lionsgate’s slate of non-fiction programming includes Monica the Medium (Freeform), Hellevator (GSN), and Revenge Body with Khloe Kardashian, debuting on E! next year. Matt Kunitz’s survival competition series Kicking & Screaming, which was recently added to Fox Broadcasting’s lineup with a January 2017 premiere date, is poised to become a global brand for which the company has retained all international distribution and format rights. Lionsgate will also distribute Pilgrim’s reality shows in the international marketplace.