Longtime BBC Children’s exec Sarah Muller is taking the reins as head of children’s at Channel 5, stepping into the role previously held by Jessica Symons, who parted ways with the British free-to-air broadcaster more than seven months ago.
Muller will be responsible for commissioning and acquiring children’s programming for Viacom-owned Channel 5 while overseeing the Milkshake! programming block. She will drive content across Channel 5′s linear and digital platforms as well as in-market events.
Muller will report to Channel 5′s COO Paul Dunthorne and Alison Bakunowich, who is GM of Nickelodeon UK & Ireland. Muller will begin her new position on November 21, taking over from interim children’s head Clair Robinson.
As CBBC’s head of drama and animation development, Muller added the title of BBC Children’s first creative director of scripted, animation, co-production and feature film last September—a role that placed emphasis on the channel’s in-house scripted output across both live action and animation. Muller led CBBC’s in-house drama development team, while securing third-party co-production projects and funding. She also served as the key exec for CBBC Productions animation projects, working closely with co-pro partners on commissioned series like Strange Hill High, Danger Mouse, World’s End, Harriet’s Army, Tracy Beaker Returns and Just William.
Prior to joining the BBC in 2007, Muller was MD of Elephant Productions, which specializes in the development and production of animation and children’s programming.
Muller’s move to Milkshake! comes on the heels of the block achieving its highest viewing figures on record, including its best-ever share of kids viewing last year. Since October 2015, Milkshake! VOD views have increased by 24%.
Under Symon’s four-year leadership, original commissions included the Absolutely Cuckoo-produced series Dave’s Dinosaurs and Wissper, the latter of which signified Milkshake!’s first original commission to be snapped up by Nickelodeon in the US since Viacom acquired Channel 5 in September 2014 for US$726 million.