Christian Wikander, the scripted specialist who left HBO Max as part of cuts to the streamer in Europe this summer, has a new role.
He’s been named Global Head of Scripted at Banijay and will take up the post on May 1 2023, and Lars Blomgren is leaving at the same time to head up Media Res’ newly-opened international TV arm.
Wikander has been tasked with overseeing Banijay’s scripted slate globally, driving collaboration between the super-indie’s 50+ drama labels and identifying third-party acquisitions.
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He was HBO Max Nordic’s Commissioning Editor and VP, Original Programming between 2020 and 2022, when his roles was made redundant, as Deadline revealed.
Other execs who left in the restructure included HBO Max EMEA VP Original Programming and Production CEE Johnathan Young and Head of Unscripted Original Production Annelies Sitvast. In total 29 staff left the business.
At Warner Bros Discovery’s streaming service, he was responsible for developing original scripted series across HBO Max’s Nordic footprint. Prior to that, he was Managing Director for London-based Twelve Town, having joined in 2016 as Head of Drama for Europe, working on series such as Viaplay’s Conspiracy of Silence. Wikander was also Head of Drama at SVT in Sweden.
In his new post at Banijay, he will report to Banijay CEO Marco Bassetti, who said: “Having been a commissioner, managing director and producer, Christian has demonstrated not only his immense creative talent and agility as a leader, but importantly, his natural eye for recognising a story with international potential. With him in place, we feel we have further opportunity to grow our premium scripted offering and heighten Banijay’s reputation as a leader in both local and English-language dramas that connect audiences worldwide.”
Wikander said 2023 would be “a year of origination, returners and travelling scripted hits.”
Banijay’s scripted slate includes SAS: Rogue Heroes BBC One, Marie Antoinette for Canal+ and BBC Two, Domina for Sky Atlantic, Riding in Darkness for C-More/TV4), Ronja for Viaplay), Fallen for C-More,TV4 and ZDF, Bosé for Paramount+) and Ripley for Showtime.
Blomgren has spent the past few years overseeing Banijay’s hefty international scripted slate, including the likes of Peaky Blinders (with Caryn Mandabach Productions), The Fall and Lillyhammer.
The Co-founder of The Bridge producer Filmlance International AP will helm the international division of Michael Ellenberg’s Media Res, titled Media Res International, developing premium TV series with talent based outside the U.S.
“Lars’ exceptional taste, experience, and perspective make him the ideal person to lead our efforts as we expand in this vital space,” said Ellenberg.
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