Screentime poaches ABC’s Collins, promotes Steel

06 November, 2013 by Don Groves

Jennifer Collins is quitting as ABC TV head of entertainment to join Screentime in the newly-created role of head of non-fiction.

In a related move, Screentime has promoted Simon Steel from executive producer non-fiction to head of factual, reporting to Collins.


The hiring of Collins, who starts in January, signals Screentime’s commitment to beefing up its non-fiction output including studio-based entertainment productions, comedy, panel shows and factual entertainment.

“We need to build up the entertainment side,“ Screentime MD Bob Campbell tells IF, while observing that area has not been a great focus for the company since Popstars. “We are delighted to welcome to Screentime an executive of the calibre and experience of Jennifer.”

Campbell welcomes Nine Entertainment Co.’s stock exchange listing, noting, “Nine has been a consistent supporter of good content and I am sure that momentum will continue.”

Screentime’s non-fiction slate includes The Flying Miners for the ABC, Taking On The Chocolate Frog for Foxtel’s Studio and Outback Coroner for Foxtel’s Crime & Investigation.

Steel has been with Screentime for four years where he developed and produced four series of RBT as well as Taking On The Chocolate Frog and  executive produced Outback Coroner.

ABC executive producer, entertainment Sophia Zachariou will be acting head of entertainment while the search for a successor to Collins is underway.

As head of entertainment since April 2012, Collins commissioned shows such as Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell, Adam Hills Tonight, The Chaser Decides, Julia Zemiro’s Home Delivery, The Agony of Life, Gruen Planet, Gruen Nation, Gruen Sweat and most recently Annabel Crabb’s Kitchen Cabinet election specials

Previously she spent three years as ABC head of factual where she commissioned hundreds of hours of factual and documentary content include The Checkout, Poh’s Kitchen and Who’s Been Sleeping in My House.

“Across all the roles I’ve taken up at the ABC over the years, I’ve never underestimated the privilege of working for the public broadcaster,” Collins said. I’ve had an extraordinary career at the ABC, enriched by the quality of the creative teams and colleagues both from within and outside the organisation.”

Director of Television Richard Finlayson said, “Jen is not only a longstanding and much-loved member of the ABC TV team, she has been one of its strongest creative forces. “She leaves a great legacy at the ABC; a stable of iconic entertainment brands and outstanding Australian talent”.