BBC America president Bill Hilary is leaving to join ad agency Magna Global as president of its entertainment division, officials said Monday.
Hilary, who is also a veteran of Comedy Central, has been named president of Magna Global Entertainment. He’ll be based at the company’s New York headquarters.
Hilary’s final day at BBC America hasn’t been set yet, nor his replacement. The network has a management team in place that can carry on day-to-day business, including general manager Kathyrn Mitchell.
“I am incredibly proud to have been responsible for the creativity and growth of what I believe is one of the most important TV channels in the US,” Hilary said Monday. “This has been an incredibly difficult decision to make.”
In his new role, Hilary will lead Magna’s entertainment division, creating custom-branded programming opportunities for clients' specific marketing needs, and developing programming independently for the common interest of multiple clients.
Hilary will also oversee international sales and develop new opportunities in the emerging media and digital arena.
As part of Interpublic Media, Magna Global is an agency-owned production company that creates original programming for television and other media. Notable successes include the six-time Emmy Award Door to Door for Turner Network Television, as well as the critically acclaimed hit series, The Restaurant, on NBC.
“Bill Hilary brings an unrivaled breadth of experience to Magna’s Entertainment division,” Mark Rosenthal, chairman of Interpublic Media, said in a prepared statement. “He is a quadruple-barrel talent. He knows analog and digital, broadcast and cable, and the domestic and international markets. He also has experience in creative as well as the advertising and distribution sides of the business.”
Prior to joining BBC America in 2004, Hilary served for five years as executive vice president and general manager of Comedy Central. At Comedy Central, he built and managed a creative team that oversaw development, programming, marketing, digital media, research, acquisitions and international sales.
He played an integral role in creating new shows, such as Chappelle’s Show, Reno 911, Crank Yankers, Battlebots and Insomnia, and sustaining the growth of existing shows, including The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and South Park.
Before that time, Mr. Hilary was head of the Independent Commissioning Group for BBC TV. In that role he was responsible for buying all drama, reality, entertainment, comedy and documentaries from independent studios in the United Kingdom.
Prior to joining the BBC, Mr. Hilary served for four years as head of comedy and entertainment at Grenada TV.