Paramount Global’s Lawrence Szabo Exits For BBC Studios Role In LA

Business

Paramount Global’s Lawrence Szabo is joining BBC Studios.

Szabo has been named Executive VP of U.S. Content Distribution, effective immediately, based out of LA. He’ll lead a licensing team for scripted and factual programming, looking at co-production and content acquisition deals, and will have a key role in setting the BBC’s strategy in the States.

At Paramount, Szabo was Senior Executive of Program Acquisitions, working across Paramount+, Pluto TV, MTV Entertainment Networks, Nickelodeon, BET and Showtime. Among the thousands of hours he acquired in that post, he took the streaming rights to CBS sitcom Ghosts, which BBC Studios co-produces, and the cable rights for the Indiana Jones and John Wick film franchises.

Before that, he was Executive VP of North American TV/SVOD Sales at Lionsgate. He began his career at MGM, holding several roles in its TV, home entertainment and film divisions.

At BBC Studios, he’ll report to Janet Brown, President of Content Distribution, North America and Latin America. “Lawrence comes to us with a proven track record on both sides of the table, and across a range of genres,” she said. “His passion for great content, thoughtful sales strategies and deep respect for buyers has earned him an incredible network of relationships across the industry.

This is the latest move for BBC Studios in LA. Managing Director For Scripted Mark Linsey has moved from London to the West Coast to “place him geographically closer to key global content decision makers as BBC Studios” and former Fox chair Gary Newman has joined its board to help open doors in Tinseltown.

BBC Studios already runs LA Productions, producing the likes of Ghosts, Call Me Kat and Dancing with the Stars, while the Natural History Unit opened a hub in the city earlier this year and there are also ad sales and content distribution units.

Last year, BBC Studios CEO Tom Fussell told Deadline the BBC’s commercial division was “growing very rapidly on the West Coast in terms of production” with “a lot more growth coming, whether that be U.S. giants partnering with the BBC or us producing directly for the U.S.”

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