ABC has named a new Head of Scripted and a new Head of Factual as part of the new Content division.
Rachel Okine, (pictured left) currently Senior Commissioning Editor at Stan, has been brought on board for the new role of Head of Scripted.
ABC has renewed the role given the recent resignation of Sally Riley as Head of Drama, Comedy & Indigenous. Okine will oversee Australia’s largest scripted slate from 4 September.
Former Netflix executive Susie Jones (pictured right) takes on the role of Head of Factual, a role recently filled by Jennifer Collins prior to her appointment as Head of Screen Content.
“To be able to welcome creative executives of the likes of Rachel and Susie to ABC is incredibly humbling,” said Chris Oliver-Taylor, ABC’s chief content officer. “They are both exceptional leaders and bring first-hand experience of programs commissioned by two of the best streamers in the world, Netflix and Stan. ABC will benefit significantly from their experience and knowledge.
“Rachel brings local and international experience through distribution and streaming to ABC, where she will lead a team of extremely talented commissioning editors. She will be a brilliant addition to our team and will build on the incredible legacy that is ABC’s Scripted output.
“It is an honor to have the opportunity to build on ABC’s legacy of delivering excellent storytelling to audiences here and abroad as we head into the next phase of its digital evolution,” Okine said. “Under the leadership of Chris Oliver-Taylor and Jennifer Collins, it promises to be a very exciting time of transformative change.”
From 24 July Susie Jones will manage Australia’s largest factual and documentary content output, from science to religion, true crime to investigative journalism, natural history to travel, as well as Landline, Gardening Australia, Compass, Backroads and ABC’s Biggest Show of 2022, Rally dogs.
Chris Oliver-Taylor said, “This is my third time working with Susie. Susie was the first person I hired at Matchbox Pictures and I recently worked closely with her for Netflix. I can’t wait to see what impact Susie will have on such a vital part of ABC production.”
“I am thrilled to be joining ABC as Head of Factual,” said Jones. “ABC so often captures the national conversation and building on that brilliant pedigree I look forward to working closely with the team to bring fresh and inspiring new entertainment to all Australians.”
Okine and Jones will both report to Head of Screen Content Jennifer Collins.
Rachel Okine joined Stan in 2021 and is Senior Commissioning Editor, overseeing a range of drama and comedy scripts, feature films and documentaries. After beginning her acquisitions career at FilmFour, Okine was Hopscotch’s first employee, later rising to Acquisitions Executive for eOne ANZ and Head of Development for Hopscotch Features. Okine returned to Europe in 2015 to become VP of International Production and Acquisitions for Paris-based Studiocanal and was subsequently named VP of International Acquisitions for STX. Returning to Australia in 2020, Okine was appointed managing director of Oscar-nominated production company Aquarius Films to strategically lead its film and television operations.
Most recently Susie Jones spent a year and a half as Slate Manger & Creative Executive at Netflix ANZ. She began her career in the Comedy department of the BBC in London before returning to Australia where she spent more than 15 years as a creative producer and freelance director for a range of content on ABC, SBS, Ten, Nine and Seven Networks and the Discovery channel. Jones spent six years working at Matchbox Pictures as a Development Executive, developing content for all networks. In 2016 she joined SBS as a commissioning editor for documentaries where she was responsible for a number of award-winning content including several seasons of Who Do You Think You Are?, The Ghan, Addicted Australia and See What You Made Me Do. Jones was also previously Head of Entertainment and Food at SBS.