SBS appoints new Head of Production and Development

Peter Newman, SBS Commissioning Editor, Documentaries, has now been appointed Head of Production and Development and will oversee the entire commissioning, production and development slate for the network.

Newman, who was Commissioning Editor of The Family which airs on SBS ONE later in the year, has also been associated with this week’s anticipated series, Go Back to Where You Came From. Prior to this he worked with international networks such as Channel 4 and the BBC in the UK and Discovery in the USA before moving to Australia three years ago.

The appointment ends interim measures which were in place at SBS following the exit of Denise Eriksen a year ago.

Matt Campbell said: “I’m thrilled Peter has accepted this senior leadership position. His work is outstanding and SBS is very fortunate his talent will now extend across our entire slate of commissioned content. I’m sure we will see more fantastic content from SBS under his stewardship.”

Peter Newman added: “Not only does SBS have an important role to play in the cultural landscape of Australia; it is also the network that produces some of the most distinctive and creatively ambitious local content on our screens. I’m really looking forward to building on our recent successes such as Immigration Nation, East West 101 and Luke Nguyen’s Vietnam.”


  1. @Rob, not a single one of those “examples” you gave hold high positions with UK broadcasters or production companies. @JJAbe, there are plenty of qualified Australians around but it’s impossible to take you seriously after your opening comment that someone who has lived here for 3 years “is a pioneer in the TV industry in this country” and your comments that “Australian TV is at least 10 years behind and needs to be dragged into the 21st. century” are not only misinformed but also rather insulting. In any case, the UK/Aus flow of TV professionals certainly seems like a one-way street to me, as it also apparently seems to Buddha, Ronnie and John.

  2. JJAbe: There are dozens of Aussie names one could come up with and many are already at the top of the tree with the larger prod cos & commercial networks. There are also plenty of young locals ready to make the next move higher via a stepping stone such as this position at SBS would provide.
    Conversely, there are a lot of Brits here across all media with many, but not all, brought in by their fellow countrymen already here. Often. when one digs a little deeper, many of the ones getting gigs have ’embellished’ pedigrees in their CVs.

    Rob: My point about Aussies in the UK referred to FTA terrestrial broadcasters. The three examples you’ve nominated attained their quite accomplished roles via differing roads: Eden Gaha worked his way up in the US industry over 10 years or more the hard way, starting as an AP or segment prod in prod cos. Adrian Swift was an EP/Development person at a cable channel before starting his own company from scratch over 10 years ago. David Lyle deals in format development for global markets from UK and US bases.

    One has to remember that the UK, Europe & US markets are infinitely larger than ours.
    In the UK market the FTA channels esp BBC & ITV commission and broadcast a by-far larger quantity of locally produced material across all day parts than we do here, where the emphasis and real money is spent in primetime.
    Thus there are far less opportunities here for local crews and new production talent to train on or for experienced hands to work on.

  3. @Lisa and @Buddah – yep correct there are pretty much no Aussies of a good enough calabre to do his job. Show me one Aussie with his pedigree. The UK TV industry is at least 10 years ahead of Australia and Peter Newman has the foresight to drag Australia into the 21st century.

  4. Buddha: your overdeveloped sense of entitlement is showing. Australians do well in executive positions in entertainment all over the world. Eden Gaha, Adrain Swift and David Lyle all immediately spring to mind.

  5. Buddha makes a great point. I was dumbfounded when they imported a head of drama from NZ that no one had heard of for the same reason. Part of SBS’s raison d’etre should be to nurture people into these senior roles from our own producer ranks.

  6. Sorry? WTF?

    Yet another Brit import to positions that really should be awarded to Australians.

    Name an Aussie doing a similar gig currently in the UK?
    Go to the UK and apply for a similar position and you will be told “we can’t see what you would know about our culture, celebrities, contacts etc etc”.

    And @JJAbe: sure, this guy may have commissioned some noteworthy programmes recently – but how exactly does that make him a “pioneer in the TV industry in this country”? WTF?

    SBS was commissioning excellent programmes under Denise Eriksen and others before her.

    It is quite insulting to think that SBS believes that there is no one – not one – Aussie of sufficient standing or merit anywhere in Australia who could be appointed to this position.
    I realise that remuneration does come into play in that some people would not consider an SBS salary to be sufficient, but on the other hand, there must be some Aussie execs/producers/commissioners who would make sacrifices to gain that role.

    And it’s not just SBS doing this – Fremantle recently appointed Brit to a similar role.

  7. I wish him well. I just wish SBS would stop the electronic graffiti on seemingly everything I watch on the channel mentioning Go Back To Where You Came From after the ad break. As they’ve successfully made me not want to watch it due to them ruining all their shows over it. I probably would of watched the first episode. I might have watched all of them if they had of done it weekly and not on Thursday. Oh well. By the way I do watch your promos and pay attention to them. So all SBS had to to is advertise it during adbreaks. Which they were. Sorry for the rant but it’s driving me up the wall. I can’t wait for it to be over with. So at least there’s one upside to it. Ironically I like the idea and even suspect it would be good. But too much advertising and any electronic graffiti during the programmes just turns me off stuff. I wish someone would get that at SBS.

    I don’t suppose SBS will hire someone to tell them to stop annoying the viewers?

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