We are very proud to share that Simon Willgoss, an original Nutopian and now Head of Development, has been nominated as one of Broadcast’s International Rising Stars! The award is to celebrate young executives and their work developing, producing or distributing British TV that has made an impact internationally.

More about the award can be found here

And if you can’t access the site here is a transcript:

Meet the international stars
16 April, 2015

Broadcast reveals its second group of up-and-coming execs making their mark in global TV

The six executives selected as Broadcast’s second line-up of International Rising Stars have been revealed. The winners were chosen because they are making their mark in the global TV business, striking deals, winning commissions and overseeing shows that travel around the world. They were announced at an event at Vega Luna Beach in Cannes, attended by senior television figures. Pictured left to right are John Stack, Stephanie Mavropoulos, Paul Routledge, Katie Mokhtar, Simon Willgoss and Alex Hryniewicz.

Alex Hryniewicz
Senior multiplatform producer Maverick TV

MipTV is fast becoming a more digital-friendly market and is welcoming more interactive executives. Alex Hryniewicz fits the bill, having worked as a producer on online spin-offs for shows including How To Look Good Naked, 10 Years Younger and Embarrassing Bodies.

Hryniewicz, who had stints at the BBC and Channel 4 before joining Maverick, was responsible for interactive web series Embarrassing Bodies: Live, which was subsequently commissioned as Embarrassing Bodies: Live From The Clinic. The show won an International Emmy Award.

Reverse The Odds, which was ordered by C4 as part of its Stand Up For Cancer strand, also won Best Digital Programme at the 2015 International Digital Emmy Awards this week.

Stephanie Mavropoulos
Production executive, Arrow Media

Stephanie Mavropoulos joined Arrow Media when it was formed by Tom Brisley, Iain Pelling and John Smithson in 2011, and has worked across the C4-backed firm’s range of factual and factual entertainment commissions.

Mavropoulos is part of the team that ensures productions for broadcasters in the UK and globally are delivered on budget and on schedule. She has worked on series including two-hour event doc Live From Space for C4 and National Geographic; BBC2 and Smithsonian co-pro 747: The Plane That Changed The World; and C4 factual entertainment format Dogs: Their Secret Lives. The latter was being pitched to international broadcasters at this week’s MipTV.

She has previously held production manager roles at Impossible Pictures and Darlow Smithson.

Katie Mokhtar
Development executive, Blink Films

Katie Mokhtar has been responsible for a raft of international co-productions during her two years at Blink Films.

She has developed The Missing Evidence, a Channel 5 and Smithsonian co-pro; Trojan Horse: The New Evidence for PBS and C4; Nat Geo’s Are You Smarter Than Your Pet?; and Nazi Secret Films, a 6 x 60-minute series for Discovery Networks International and American Heroes Channel.

Prior to joining Dan Chambers’ Blink, Mokhtar held various roles at Shed Media and Nutopia, where she worked on BBC1’s Who Do You Think You Are? and Nat Geo’s The 80s: The Decade That Made Us respectively. Mokhtar also had a spell at BBC in-house, where she produced BBC1 and Discovery US series Andrew Marr’s History Of The World.

Paul Routledge
Director, Objective Productions

The Cube and Reflex are two of the best-selling British gameshows of the past few years, with remakes in China and a host of other territories.

Paul Routledge worked on both formats for Objective Productions. As a digital TV creative executive, he created an international hub for the gamefreeze shots on The Cube and was a specialist camera director on BBC1’s Shane Richiefronted Reflex.

Most recently, Routledge directed the first series of E4’s hidden-camera format Bad Robots, which was launched at MipTV. The show is already being remade in Belgium and is nominated for Best Comedy Format at Frapa’s International Format Awards in Cannes.

John Stack
Producer, Rise Films

John Stack started at Rise Films as an intern in 2011 and has risen to become one of its key documentary producers.

He has since worked on Sundance-winning film Dreamcatcher, which was directed by Kim Longinotto and aired on US network Showtime and C4. His other credits include Oscar nominee The Invisible War for US public broadcaster PBS; Too Fast To Be A Woman?: The Story of Caster Semenya for BBC2; and comedy Plebs, which is being sold around the world by DRG.

Stack is now working on Miriam Lyons-directed feature doc The Love Commandos and Chancers, a Ben Lewis-directed doc for BBC4’s Storyville strand.

Simon Willgoss
Head of development, Nutopia

Nutopia is known for producing high-end docs, docu-dramas and factual entertainment formats for broadcasters in the US and UK, and Simon Willgoss is responsible for creating them.

Willgoss was part of the team that launched Nutopia in 2009 and developed series including Sky Atlantic’s The British, History’s America: The Story Of Us and Nat Geo’s The 80s: The Decade That Made Us. He also had a stint as head of development at CB Films, which produced C4’s Dreamboys and TLC’s I Cloned My Pet.

Category : General | Blog

Sunday 1st March saw the debut episode of Finding Jesus. Faith, Fact, Forgery on CNN. The programme, which focused on the Turin Shroud, topped the ratings charts with 1,14 million viewers.

You can read more about the reception for the first episode here at the Hollywood Reporter and Deadline

You can find out all about the show here

Category : General | Blog

Inventions guru and writer Steve Johnson, presenter of BBC2 series How We Got To Now, introduces us to six men who changed our lives:

Who are the people who really shaped the modern world? Is it the likes of Stalin and Chairman Mao? No, says inventions guru and writer Steven Johnson, who plumps for six men you’ve probably never heard of. They’re all responsible for low-tech breakthroughs from refrigeration to drinkable water. While historians tend to construct timelines of social and political upheavals, Johnson thinks an alien studying us would look at basic technology to map our species’ progress. Mankind’s journey is “as influenced by the invention of the refrigerator as it is Magna Carta. But we tend to teach Magna Carta,” he says.
Johnson’s book How we Got to Now is a companion piece to his BBC2 series and covers much of the same territory. Its author is a 46-year-old based in California, who’s amassed 1.5 million Twitter followers and who, in 2005’s Everything Bad Is Good for You, argued that TV and video games are making humans smarter. Think Malcolm Gladwell with a more rigorous historical bent.
When we switch on a lamp, or safely drink tap water, says Johnson, we forget the ingenuity that was required to do those things for the first time. He debunks the idea of a eureka moment: “People coming up with something new are always supported by the building blocks of ideas coming immediately before them.”

To read the full article by Jack Seale in the Radio Times click here

Category : General | Blog

Australia the Story of Us begins on Channel 7, Australia this Sunday, 15th February. Following on from the formats original “America The Story of Us” the Eight part series is an extraordinary narrative about the people, places and events that have shaped Australia from the first footprints to the present day.

Click here to see a trailer for the show

Category : General | Blog

Nutopia CEO, Jane Root, recently spoke to C21 about all things factual.You can read the full article below or on the C21 website

Jane Root, former president of Discovery Channel in the US, has said the network’s move away from ‘fake’ documentaries is part of a shift towards more authentic unscripted programming.

Discovery Channel’s new president Rich Ross said this month that the US channel would be abandoning shows such as Mermaids: The New Evidence. He left his position as Shine America CEO to succeed Eileen O’Neil at the end of last year.

Root, who was president of Discovery from 2004 to 2007 and previously controller of BBC2, told C21 the new strategy is part of a growing trend as the unscripted industry attempts to tackle the “creative crisis” outlined at numerous TV conferences last year.

Root, who launched factual prodco Nutopia in 2009, said: “Casted reality shows haven’t been having much success recently. It was a huge roller coaster for a while but broadcasters are looking for new kinds of content. We’re being asked for big event series and drama-docs that combine real knowledge with audience-friendly perspective.

“There’s renewed enthusiasm for authentic content. The comments from Rich Ross at Discovery show they’re turning much more into our territory, having played in a different space.

“There’s a burgeoning documentary world in the US and internationally. Docs are coming into cable in the US that are more authentic, have stronger points of view and are less formulaic. There is definitely a shift away from shows the audience perhaps felt were becoming a bit predictable.”

Root credited online platforms such as Vice Media and Netflix for giving hard-hitting factual programmes a platform and said the change in mindset will play right into the hands of companies like Nutopia.

The prodco is about to launch Australia: The Story of Us on Seven Network, a local adaptation of the prodco’s America: The Story of Us and Britain: The Story of Us. Root said advanced discussions are underway for adaptations for the same format in other territories.

It is also working on six-part Jesus Code for CNN, which examines artefacts said to have links to Jesus Christ, as well as projects for US cablenets Esquire and Smithsonian.

“The rise of docs and their availability on Netflix, as well as Vice, are important. You got the sense that younger audiences want things immediately that are entertaining but don’t draw a strict line between entertaining and factual content. Those silos we got used to thinking in – it’s either entertainment or it’s got information – are breaking down and we’re dealing with different content in different ways,” she said.

Clive Whittington

Category : General | Blog

We are very excited to announce that Nutopia is currently producing a documentary series called MY Million Dollar Invention for the Smithsonian network.

“Executive vice president David Royle said that Smithsonian wanted to become a significant player in the international co-production business and worked closely with UK and Canadian broadcasters. “We play well in the sandbox with others,” he added.”

The announcement was made in Broadcast and you can read the full article here

Category : General | Blog

Nutopia’s “House That Made Me” has won a number of prestigious awards for its format in India “Har Ghar Kuch kehta Hai”

Indian Television Academy Awards: Best Talk Show
Emvies: Gold – Best Innovation TV and Silver – Best Branded Content
Abbys: Silver – Best Branded Content

Read more about the awards here:

Category : General | Blog

The New York Times published a wonderful review of How We Got to Now, Steven Johnson’s book of the same name as the PBS show that aired in Autumn 2014.

By the time you reach the end of Steven Johnson’s latest book on innovation, you’re apt to find yourself exhilarated and a little bit fatigued. It’s a case of literary jet lag. You’ve been with Johnson to secret chambers within the pyramids of Giza and foul trenches in the sewers of old Chicago; you’ve looked through telescopes on Mauna Kea and peered into microscopes with 19th-century bacteriologists. You’ve had to move around space and time to do this, but more crucially, you’ve had to wander back and forth through passageways that connect technological history with politics, economics and culture. Have you ever wondered why flash photography led to antipoverty programs at the turn of the 20th century? Or how the invention of the laser contributed to the decline of mom-and-pop stores? Of course you haven’t, because you didn’t really stop to think — wait, check that; I didn’t really stop to think — how the invention of flash photography finally allowed Jacob Riis to capture the images of dismal tenement life on New York’s Lower East Side that he had already been writing about, with little impact, for years. Or how the laser begat the bar code that, in turn, gave an efficiency advantage to stores like Target and Walmart. “How We Got to Now” is full of nifty connections like these — stories that illustrate obscure chains of causality that shaped the modern world. We’ve gone from making cave paintings to using slender slabs of powerful technology like the iPhone 6. But it’s hardly been a linear path. Johnson shows the meandering process by which we’ve made this journey, and what sort of cultural waves ripple outward as we move ahead.

To read the full article click here


Category : General | Blog

New Travel Channel Series starts 4th Sunday January 2015 with 2 episodes!

In Travel Channel’s new series Metropolis, each stunning episode explores 1 important world city, uncovering rich historical secrets behind its extraordinary location, timeless architecture and magnetic culture.

Episode 1: Manhattan, 9pm EST

Episode 2: San Francisco, 10pm EST

Category : General | Blog

The Wall Street Journal has announced its top ten shows for Fall 2014 and How We Got To Now with Steven Johnson is one of only three non-fiction shows to appear.

Other shows included The Roosevelts: An Intimate History, BBC’s The Missing and Transparent.

The full article can be found here

Category : General | Blog