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BBC Studios Productions taps Vice Media Group’s Kate Ward as MD factual

BBC Studios (BBCS) Productions has tapped Vice Media Group’s Kate Ward as managing director for factual.

Kate Ward

Reporting to Ralph Lee, CEO at BBCS Productions, Ward will oversee all BBCS’s factual production units and partnerships, taking responsibility for overall strategy, creative health, pipeline and production capability across the genre.

Ward is set to arrive at the UK pubcaster’s main commercial arm in February 2023. At Vice Media Group, she currently serves as president of Vice Studios and Pulse Films, which Vice took a majority stake in six years ago and whose founders exited earlier this year.

Ward’s new role, previously held by Tom McDonald, was expanded in February when BBCS brought together its production and content businesses to create a unit that could take a single strategic view across all BBCS productions, talent relationships and content investment.

These include the BBC’s Natural History Unit, Documentary Unit and Science Unit, as well as factual indie relationships with companies including Louis Theroux’s Mindhouse Productions, David Olusoga’s Uplands TV, and James and Soleta Rogan’s Rogan Productions.

At Vice Media, Ward was responsible for the development, production and distribution of scripted, entertainment and factual content of the youth-skewing brand’s international television and feature film production arm.

During her tenure, Vice Studios produced content including the documentary Flee, Hulu scripted series Tell Me Lies, FX documentary series Pride, Netflix’s Indian Predator and an upcoming documentary feature about President Zelensky directed by Sean Penn and Aaron Kaufmann.

Prior to joining Vice, Ward was president of international at Refinery29, the media and entertainment company focused on women, where she oversaw the company’s growth and expansion. Before joining Refinery29, she spent eight years at Endemol Shine Group in a variety of roes from associate director of business development to head of commercial and strategy at Shine TV.

Lee said: “Our factual portfolio, with the Natural History, Docs and Science units at its heart and a range of brilliant indie partners, is critical to our success and growth, so I’m delighted to have attracted a leader of Kate’s calibre to the MD role.

“She has both an infectious passion for great documentary storytelling and a deep understanding of the content market. I can’t wait to start working with her and building on the success story of Factual at BBC Studios.”

Ward added: “Appetite for factual programming from both audiences and broadcasters alike continues to boom and I’m hugely excited to be part of factual at BBC Studios as it is set to reach even greater heights. I am grateful for my time at Vice and proud of what we achieved together.”


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