SBS has announced a new head of scripted following an extensive search, with creative producer Julie Eckersley set to take the reins.
The broadcaster has also promoted Donna Chang to commissioning editor for scripted.
Eckersley has previously worked as a producer and in development across a range of genres, including drama, comedy, animation, documentary and children’s content.
Her experience includes nine years at Matchbox Pictures where she worked on projects such as The Family Law, Glitch, and Maximum Choppage.
She’s also held roles across different elements of production throughout her career, developing and producing projects with Australian networks, as well as internationally with Netflix and NBCU International.
The role had previously been held by Sue Masters for five years, before she departed in late 2019.
Former Foxtel head of drama Penny Win has been SBS’s acting head of scripted for the past six months. Prior to that, Amanda Duthie had acted in the role from Masters’ departure before leaving in February to be Stan’s head of scripted.
In a statement, Eckersley said she would be looking for “great stories that are entertaining, surprising and full of heart”.
“All Australians should feel seen on our screens and I’m thrilled to join SBS as they lead the way in achieving this,” she said,
“My focus will be on supporting talent, in front of and behind the camera, as we create stories that celebrate and explore our diverse perspectives and shared humanity.”
Eckersley will be working closely with Chang, who steps into an expanded role in developing and delivering SBS’s pipeline of commissioned scripted projects.
Chang joined SBS in 2020 as development executive, scripted, from Lingo Pictures where she was head of development.
Prior to that, she worked at Screen Australia as a development executive, and has also been a story development external assessor since 2015.
Her experience includes several years working as a production executive with Ridley Scott’s production company, Scott Free, in London.
Chang said it was a “privilege” to work in service of the stories that SBS was known for.
“At the core of our scripted slate and industry initiatives is a commitment to making great local drama that showcases under-represented voices and talent.
“I look forward to continuing this work with Julie.”
SBS’s upcoming scripted slate includes drama series, New Gold Mountain, a four-part revisionist Western telling the untold story of the Australian gold rush from the perspective of Chinese miners, with Yoson An and Alyssa Sutherland leading an ensemble cast.
There is also Iggy and Ace, a short-form drama series exploring friendship, addiction, and recovery through a queer lens, that is set to premiere on SBS On Demand. The project was developed through the SBS, NITV, and Screen Australia Digital Originals initiative.
SBS director of content, television and online Marshall Heald said it was an exciting time to welcome Eckersley to the team.
“We’re thrilled to have someone with her extensive experience and passion for our charter to lead our scripted offering, working closely together with Donna in a larger role that will fully recognise and utilise her exceptional talents,” he said.
Eckersley commences with SBS on July 5.