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BBCA’s GM Thinks Originally

As former Comedy Central programming executive Kathryn Mitchell assumes the newly created post of general manager at BBC America, she’ll train her eye on making the network’s programming lineup more original.

BBC America will double its current investment in programming over the next two years and will create an original programming division to explore opportunities for network-produced movies, specials and series, said BBC America president and CEO Bill Hilary.

As part of that development process, BBC America plans to shed some of the reality and makeover shows that presently comprise up to 30% of its lineup, according to network officials. BBC America’s primetime ratings declined 29% against its target adult 25-to-54 demographic last year.

In addition to her programming responsibilities, Mitchell will have oversight for marketing, on-air, operations and development for the 41.5 million-subscriber BBC America. She spent three years at Comedy Central as senior vice president of programming before leaving the Viacom Inc.-owned network last October.

In another reorganizational move, communications executive Jo Petherbridge was elevated to senior vice president of corporate communications, online and strategy.

Hilary, who joined BBC America last September after a four-year stint at Comedy Central, also said last Wednesday that the network will relocate its offices to New York from Bethesda, Md. later this year.

As such, BBC America, which bowed in 1998, will physically distance itself from programmer Discovery Communications Inc., now located in Silver Spring, Md.

Discovery continues to oversee distribution and advertising sales for BBC America.