SBS has announced John Godfrey as SBS’s new Head of Commissioning, stepping into a newly created role to oversee the network’s unscripted and scripted commissioned content slate, with Joseph Maxwell promoted to Head of SBS Unscripted.
Godfrey has led commissioning across SBS’s unscripted slate for the last six years, during which SBS has expanded and diversified its offering across both television and digital. He first joined SBS in 2008 and has been instrumental in positioning SBS as a leader in impactful documentaries including award-winning programs Go Back to Where You Came From, First Contact and Filthy Rich and Homeless, as well as overseeing the introduction of new factual formats like Mastermind, The Cook Up with Adam Liaw and Celebrity Letters and Numbers.
Godfrey has also played a leading role in the ongoing development of initiatives and opportunities designed to support career pathways for screen practitioners from under-represented communities, and SBS’s approach to inclusion in the sector through its Commissioning Equity and Inclusion Guidelines introduced earlier this year.
Joseph Maxwell, SBS’s Head of Documentaries, has also been promoted to Head of SBS Unscripted, which sees him overseeing documentaries as well as entertainment, food commissions and online content, including SBS Voices.
Since joining SBS in 2012, Joseph has delivered a number of SBS’s most successful and impactful documentaries that underpin the network’s position as a leader in compelling and distinctive original Australian storytelling, including landmark programs See What You Made Me Do, Who Do You Think You Are?, Addicted Australia, and most recently, The Australian Wars.
As Head of Unscripted, Joseph will continue to oversee SBS’s documentaries slate which over the year ahead includes a diverse collection of programs that will challenge, inform and entertain audiences, including one of its most ambitious projects ever undertaken in Alone Australia.He’ll also lead the delivery of SBS’sbroader unscripted slate which in 2023 includes highlights like 40 years of Eurovision on SBS, and a number of new and returning food series exploring culture through cuisine.
Bernadine Lim also becomes Senior Commissioning Editor in the unscripted commissioning team, continuing to take a leading role across key original documentaries for SBS.
Julie Eckersley continues as Head of SBS Scripted as SBS expands its commitment to original Australian drama with three prime-time series set to premiere in a year for the first time in 2023 in Safe Home, Erotic Stories and While the Men Are Away. Under Eckersley’s leadership, SBS’s scripted offering also continues to focus on supporting and progressing screen creatives currently under-represented in the sector, providing a platform for a new guard of contemporary Australian storytellers. This includes the successful Digital Originals initiative with Screen Australia, with the latest project, Latecomers, premiering on SBS VICELAND and SBS On Demand on 3 December.
Kathryn Fink, Director of Television, SBS, said: “SBS is delivering our biggest ever original Australian content line-up over the year ahead, with an innovative and dynamic pipeline of projects in development. We’re bringing together our scripted and unscripted commissioning teams into one creative powerhouse, overseen by John Godfrey has Head of Commissioning, to support our plans for the year ahead, and ambition for the future.
“I’m delighted to have John taking on this important role at this pivotal and exciting time for SBS, and to also have Joseph, who has been key in cementing SBS’s position as a leader in compelling and impactful documentaries, extend his remit to oversee all of SBS’s unscripted offering.
“Our content plans for the year ahead are unlike anything else on offer, underpinned by our unique purpose at SBS, and delivering more for Australians. We want to continue raising the bar, and I look forward to working closely with John, Joseph and the wider commissioning team to continue pushing boundaries.”