Following the departure of Rebecca Heap as head of distribution for entertainment & specialist, the ABC has appointed Michael Carrington, currently ABC head of children’s content, as acting head of distribution from Monday June 4.
Libbie Doherty, currently commissioning editor for ABC Children’s, will be acting head of Children’s during this time.
Heap departs this week after four years at the ABC. In 2014, she joined ABC Television as head of strategy & digital products and in 2016 became head of programming and digital. She was appointed head of distribution in February 2018.
David Anderson, ABC director of entertainment & specialist, paid tribute to Heap:
“I know our team and our industry partners will all want to join me in thanking Bec for the significant contribution she has made during her time at the ABC. Bec’s leadership across digital and programming has been invaluable.
“Bec has championed ABC iview, which remains the leading broadcast video on demand service in Australia, and under her leadership the team has grown monthly program plays from 20 million in 2014 to almost 60 million.
“In addition to her focus on digital products, Bec developed strategies to maximise our rights, programming and acquisitions to improve the reach and impact of the ABC. This included the rebrand and relaunch of broadcast channels ABC ME (formerly ABC3) and ABC COMEDY (formerly ABC2), and the development and launch of ABC KIDS iview – our fastest growing mobile app – and the ABC ME app.
“Bec has been a strong advocate for expanding our digital rights and for digital first commissioning to drive new audiences and develop fresh Australian stories and talent. Working closely with the content teams, this has delivered outstanding results in iview original programs such as You Can’t Ask That and The Katering Show.
“Bec is a passionate leader who has fostered a highly talented and engaged team, focused on delivering the best audience experience for ABC content across platforms. I’d like to thank Bec for her valuable contribution to the ABC and wish her all the best.”
Rebecca Heap said: “It has been an incredible privilege to be part of the national broadcaster and I would like to thank David Anderson, and my talented and passionate colleagues, for the amazing opportunity to manage ABC’s programming and digital products.”
As acting head of distribution, Michael Carrington will be responsible for the ABC’s TV channels – including ABC, ABC KIDS, ABC ME and ABC COMEDY – plus ABC iview, ABC listen, Radio National and a suite of children’s digital products.
David Anderson said:
“Since joining the ABC as head of Children’s in 2016, Michael has reinvigorated our content by focusing on Australian programs that stimulate our audience’s imaginations and curiosity. He has championed multigenre programs underpinned by important themes, such as healthy lifestyles, gender equality, disability or diversity, while enabling our viewers to have fun and to laugh out loud.
“Michael has a wealth of experience, having worked for broadcasters and production companies in Australia, the UK, Europe and the US as a scheduler, program buyer, producer and commissioner. He has worked across commercial and public sector broadcasting, and has been the creative force behind many popular children’s programs and characters.”
Michael worked at the BBC as channel controller and creative director of the CBeebies preschool channel, where he devised and implemented the network’s editorial and digital strategy. He also commissioned and was executive producer on the BAFTA-winning programs In the Night Garden, Charlie and Lola and LazyTown.
His previous roles also include chief content officer at Turner Broadcasting, where he won an International Emmy Award for The Amazing World of Gumball. Carrington was also chief executive officer of Zodiak Kids Studios in the UK and France, which produced acclaimed television series such as Mister Maker and Floogals.
Libbie Doherty will be the ABC’s acting head of Children’s for Entertainment & Specialist, stepping up from her role as commissioning editor of award-winning content, such as Nowhere Boys, Mustangs FC, My Year 12 Life and Good Game SP.
Doherty joined the ABC in 2016, after working as a producer and director of development in the independent production sector. She will work closely with Jan Stradling, ABC Children’s executive producer of internal productions.