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Betty Opens U.S. Production Arm

British independent producer betty is launching a U.S. production arm and has named Discovery Networks International veteran Jon Sechrist senior vice president and head of production and development.

Sechrist will join betty later this month and will oversee its current developing production slate including The Undateables, The Food Inspectors, Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners, The Food Hospital, Kings of the Wild and Too Ugly for Love?, as well as future programs for the U.S. market and global audiences and will originate new ideas for both factual and factual entertainment shows. He will report to  betty’s co-Managing Directors, Neil Smith and Matthew Littleford, and will be based in New York.

 “Jon’s contributions to Discovery Networks International are invaluable and his expertise in the lifestyle and factual entertainment genres make him the ideal leader for betty’s U.S. operation,” Lee Bartlett, president of The Studios Group for Discovery, which oversees betty, said in a statement.

Sechrist currently serves as vice president - production and development, Discovery Networks International, and oversees the global production community to develop and produce lifestyle/factual/entertainment shows and manages content partnerships with Discovery’s U.S. portfolio including Discovery Channel, TLC, ID: Investigation Discovery, OWN, Destination America and DiscoveryLife.

His hit track record includes popular factual entertainment series Cake Boss, Sister Wives, Next Great Baker, My Naked Secret, Bizarre ER, NY Ink, BBQ Pitmasters, Body Bizarre and highly rated specials, 650 lb Virgin, Child Frozen in Time and Little Looking for Love.  Sechrist has also produced and developed popular scripted soap operas, All My Children, OneLife to Live, Noah’s Arc and festival favourite film, Were the World Mine.

Prior to joining Discovery, Sechrist worked as a programming executive at ABC Daytime and MTV Networks, where he was a key part of the creative start-up teams who launched MTV.com, MTV2 and Logo. 

“With an increasing appetite for formats it’s the perfect time for us to deliver betty's brand of quality popular factual programming to the U.S. Jon has an acute understanding of global markets and a sharp mind for what makes a hit show across lifestyle and factual, Neil Smith, managing director, betty, said in a statement.  “Having previously worked with us as a commissioner he was the perfect choice to set up our new office and we are delighted that he is joining the team.”