Sky Studios names Rebecca O’Connor Director of Production

The BBC scripted executive is set to report to Sky Studios COO, Caroline Cooper.

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Sky Studios recently appointed BBC drama executive Rebecca O’Connor as its director of production. “Given the importance of physical production and the broad range and scale of projects we are working to across our slate, we have decided to create a new position to have oversight of this work and I’m pleased to say that Rebecca O’Connor will be joining us in the newly created role of director of production, reporting into me," O’Connor said.

Most recently serving as head of business, drama, comedy, films & acquisitions at the UK pubcaster, O’Connor will assume the newly created role in August, reporting to Sky Studios COO, Caroline Cooper. Under her new role, she will oversee physical production for Sky Studios’ UK-based scripted division, working with comedy chief Jo Hunter, Livia Burton for drama, and Eugenio Perez for in-House and third-party projects. Hunter, Burton and Perez will report into O’Connor.

O’Connor led BBC Drama’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic and oversees shows including "Doctor Who" and "Eastenders." Before that, she worked at Channel 4 where she held various finance and production roles across scripted, working on shows including Top Boy, Skins, Derry Girls and Black Mirror. In a memo to staff, Cooper said the appointment followed a review in which the company explored how it could “streamline and simplify” its pohysical production processes.

The executive's appointment is the latest to be made for Sky Studios, which hired former BBC Studios exec Tobi de Graaff earlier this month to become SVP of commercial. De Graaff will also report to O’Connor. The modifications come as the company looks to deficit finance more scripted projects without a US partner,  Sky Studios’ director of original drama Meghan Lyvers confirmed at Series Mania in March.

The European operator has previously looked to secure US partners on its high-cost dramas ahead of commission, with the likes of AMC joining Sky’s "Gangs Of London" and Comcast sibling Peacock joining the remake of "Day Of The Jackal" revealed last year. “As we both commission projects from independent production companies and work flexibly to co-produce and partner with talent and smaller indies on projects via our in-house team, we need an agile production management model that can flexibly support the growing range and diversity of projects,” she said.

Given the importance of physical production and the broad range and scale of projects we are working to across our slate, we have decided to create a new position to have oversight of this work and I’m pleased to say that Rebecca O’Connor will be joining us in the newly created role of director of production, reporting into me.”

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