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C4 hires NBCU exec for acquisitions

Channel 4 has appointed a former NBCUniversal exec to handle programme acquisitions, while the UK pubcaster has at the same time revealed plans to start investing in local indies.

Nick Lee will take up the newly created role of acquired series manager in the broadcaster’s programme acquisition department, which has been responsible for acquired and commissioned content since May.

He will work alongside Tim Highsted, C4’s senior editor of film, and report to director of commercial affairs Martin Baker.

Lee was most recently looking after NBCU’s TV series, docs and special interest acquisitions, where he was responsible for researching, assessing and acquiring content and managing deals.

He has previously worked at ITV, and was commercial manager for home entertainment and multiplatform at the BBC.

Recent C4 acquired series have included Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Masters of Sex, Homeland, The Big Bang Theory, New Girl, Nashville, Revenge and The Returned.

The appointment comes a C4 CEO David Abraham revealed that the broadcaster intends to start buying stakes in indie prodcos.

Abraham was talking at the Royal Television Society conference in the UK and said the C4 Growth Fund would distribute the money to growing indies.

Other UK broadcasters such as ITV and the commercial arm of the BBC have invested in production firms with success.

There have previously been doubts that the terms of C4’s public service licence would not allow such investments, but Abraham said it would be possible as any stakes made would leave management decisions in the prodco’s hands.

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