Factual content producer WildBear Entertainment has expanded outside of Australia for the first time, establishing the WildBear Aotearoa office in New Zealand.
Executive producer, director, and writer Craig Meade has been appointed general manager of the Dunedin-based branch and will report to WildBear Entertainment managing director Alan Erson.
Meade joins from NHNZ where, as head of production, he was responsible for its factual and documentary output, as well as relationships with the wider international television industry.
His 15 years with the company included work on a diverse range of programming, including Gem Hunt for Travel Channel, I Survived 9/11 for A&E, Megastructures for National Geographic, and A Year in the Wild: Scotland for Channel 5.
Prior to this, he helped spearhead the production of reality TV in Australia as a freelance director, writer, and producer, developing House from Hell (which inspired Big Brother) before working as a director and showrunner on several major location formats, such as The Mole, Treasure Island, Temptation Island and Celebrity Survivor.
Meade said he was “genuinely excited” at the prospect of shaping something from the ground up to become a key contributor to the WildBear business.
“The opportunity to establish a new production base, with the full support of a thriving business, doesn’t come along every day,” he said.
“Aotearoa-New Zealand is a brilliant location for factual television production, and I am now looking forward to starting the development process here and connecting with other creatives across the country.”
In his new role, Meade will be responsible for expanding and deepening the Wildbear’s slate in specialist factual genres, such as history, science and engineering, and natural history, of which the company’s recent credits, include The War that Changed the World for CCTV, Demolition Down Under for Mediawan/Network 10, and Two Scottish Vets for BBC Scotland/ABC.
WildBear Entertainment CEO Michael Tear said New Zealand’s relatively small population hadn’t stopped it from producing a large number of excellent factual programmes over the years and building an impressive talent base.
“We are delighted to add a new base to our business in New Zealand and to have such a distinguished and well-respected creative as Craig onboard as GM,” he said.
“With Craig’s knowledge and expertise, we hope to successfully tap into both local ideas and talent to grow this new business and support WildBear Entertainment’s broader ambitions in the international marketplace.”