May 20, 2020
HEADSHOTS: Available in high resolution, Valerie Bruce and Sam Zoda
Los Angeles, CA – Global content leader BBC Studios today announced the appointment of key executives to lead its Los Angeles production business. Valerie Bruce will take the helm and is promoted to General Manager. She has a proven track-record of success at BBC Studios where she has held executive leadership roles for nearly a decade. Sam Zoda, a seasoned television producer with over 30 years of experience across all genres, officially joins BBC Studios as Executive Vice President, Production. Zoda reports into Bruce.
In her new role as General Manager, Bruce will lead BBC Studios’ Los Angeles production activities to drive commercial growth. She and her team will collaborate with the UK in-house production team and UK independent producers – including those invested in by BBC Studios – on formats and original programs for the U.S. market. Most recently, Bruce has been responsible for driving all business initiatives for the Los Angeles-based studio as Executive Vice President, Commercial Director.
As Executive Vice President, Production, Sam Zoda will oversee all unscripted production for BBC Studios out of Los Angeles, including high profile shows Dancing with the Stars, Emmy®-winning Life Below Zero and Top Gear America. Zoda has worked with BBC Studios as Executive in Charge of Production on Seasons 26, 27 and 28 of Dancing with the Stars and Dancing with the Stars: Juniors.
Matt Forde, Managing Director, International Production & Formats, BBC Studios, who previously oversaw the Los Angeles business, said of the appointments, “Our Los Angeles production business is growing rapidly with a trio of franchise shows under the Life Below Zero banner, a new Top Gear America for MotorTrend, Dancing with the Stars, as well as a number of other shows in the pipeline on the unscripted side. In scripted, we have two network pilots, This Country at Fox and Ghosts at CBS, in the works, along with Call Me Kat headed straight to series on Fox. Valerie is the perfect executive to take BBC Studios to the next level. Her strategic vision, business acumen and talent relations expertise, united with Sam’s industry insight, critical judgment and established production experience will prove to be a powerful combination and a successful team.”
Bruce has extensive experience overseeing Business and Commercial Affairs for BBC Studios. She led negotiations on the first-look deals with Lionsgate and Fandom Fiction. The Lionsgate partnership, launched in fall 2018, has already resulted in two pilots: This Country for Fox, based on the successful BBC series, and Ghosts for CBS, based on the popular BBC show (produced by Monumental Television in the UK). Bruce has been instrumental in advancing the global brands Top Gear and Dancing with the Stars, encompassing both the television show and the live tour. She has actively managed internal and external relations with the studio’s creative talent since she joined the production team in 2016 as Senior Vice President, Commercial Director. Bruce originally started at BBC Studios in 2011 as Senior Vice President, Business Affairs, BBC AMERICA where she negotiated the channel’s unscripted and scripted series deals, including the Emmy ® award-winning Orphan Black. Prior to BBC Studios, she held senior executive positions for companies including FilmDistrict, Apparition, IFC, The Sundance Channel, MTV Networks and Broadway Video.
Zoda’s diversified television production experience spans virtually every genre, including variety, competition, talk, documentary, drama, hidden camera, and game shows. Prior to joining BBC Studios, he was a key member of the leadership team that launched Granada America/ITV Studios America as Senior Vice President of Production. Zoda was promoted to Executive Vice President in 2005. He went on to serve as Chief Operating Officer, Head of Production & Current Programming at Granada America / ITV Studios America from 2008 to 2016. In addition to his work on Dancing With The Stars and Dancing With The Stars: Juniors, Zoda’s many credits include Hell’s Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares, Nanny 911 (FOX), Best Time Ever With Neil Patrick Harris, I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here (NBC), #Rich Kids of Beverly Hills (E!), Cesar 911 (Nat Geo WILD), Celebrity Fit Club (VH1), 1st 48 (A&E), Room Raiders (MTV), and the drama series Texas Rising for History Channel.
About BBC Studios
BBC Studios, a global content company with British creativity at its heart, is a commercial subsidiary of the BBC. Formed in April 2018 by the merger of BBC Worldwide and BBC Studios, it spans content financing, development, production, sales, branded services, and ancillaries. BBC Studios’ award-winning British programs are internationally recognized across a broad range of genres and specialties. It has offices in 22 markets globally, including seven production bases in the UK and production bases and partnerships in a further nine countries around the world. The company, which makes over 2,500 hours of content a year, is a champion for British creativity around the world and a committed partner for the UK’s independent sector.
In the Americas, BBC Studios’ operates two production units – one in Los Angeles, responsible for ratings juggernaut and Emmy®-nominated Dancing with the Stars and multi-award-winning Life Below Zero, and the other in Brazil, where local productions Dancing Brasil and Bake Off Brasil have become breakout hits. The company manages joint venture relationships with AMC Networks for flagship channel BBC AMERICA (U.S.) – home of original series Killing Eve and global brands Dynasties, Doctor Who, and Top Gear – and with ITV for SVoD service BritBox (U.S./Canada), as well as strategic partnerships in Canada with Blue Ant Media for BBC Earth Channel and Corus for BBC Canada. The company also boasts a franchise management business and a robust linear and digital content sales and co-productions operation.