Brown Bob launches US office

Inside the Ambulance indie Brown Bob Productions has expanded into the US with the launch of an office in New York.

The fixed-rig specialist has appointed Gillian Hourihan as development producer to lead Brown Bob US, effective immediately.

US national Hourihan was previously working in Brown Bob’s London office but is relocating. She’ll report to Brown Bob co-chief executives Nicki Gottlieb and Jacqueline Hewer.

Hourihan has 10 years’ experience in television, during which time she developed, produced and cast reality shows for NBC Universal such as E4’s Made in Chelsea, which NBCU-owned Monkey produces.

Her brief is to develop and pitch content to US networks and look for collaboration opportunities. The new venture comes after Brown Bob’s bosses made several exploratory trips to North American markets such as Realscreen to assess opportunities.

Brown Bob has carved out a niche in returnable fixed-rig factual productions such as W’s Inside the Ambulance and Inside the Operating Theatre.

Speaking at the Broadcast Indie Survey 2020 Reveal event in London yesterday, Gottlieb said replicating this model would give the US base a unique selling point and help in programme rights negotiations with Stateside channels and streaming services.

“We have produced 15 series over the last few years using our bespoke rigs and we are delighted that we can now build our capabilities in the US and bring our expertise to American networks,” she said.

Hybrid model

Gottlieb told attendees that Brown Bob’s production model would allow it to pursue “hybrid” rights deals on better terms than the usual work-for-hire terms that US networks traditionally offer indies.

Broadcast understands Brown Bob already has several projects in the works with US partners.

The London-based indie, which launched in 2014, counts the BBC’s daytime shows Fraud Squad: NHS and Fraud Squad: The Hunt, Yesterday’s History Hunters and The Architecture Railways Built and Channel 4 shows Paul Merton’s Secret Stations and Great Rail Restorations with Peter Snow among its credits.