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U.K. Culture Committee to quiz BBC bosses on impartiality, license fee

The U.K.’s cross-party DCMS Committee, which scrutinizes the spending, policies and administration of the government Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, is set to interrogate BBC bosses on impartiality, the license fee and earnings.

The committee, which is chaired by Julian Knight, is set to convene on Tuesday, Sept. 6 to question BBC director general Tim Davie, BBC chair Richard Sharp and BBC COO Leigh Tavaziva. They will ask questions on topics including how the corporation “plans to remain relevant and effective in the modern media landscape,” “how the BBC’s offering is impacted by a more polarised political atmosphere” and the future of the license fee in light of soaring inflation rates.

Questions about impartiality will be particularly of interest to BBC watchers following a recent lecture by former “Newsnight” host Emily Maitlis at the Edinburgh TV Festival, where she used her platform to suggest the BBC was too objective.

Typhoon Impact
The Busan International Film Festival has canceled its two in-person lineup press conferences that had been scheduled to take place in Busan and Seoul on Tuesday. They will be replaced instead by an online presentation at midday on Wednesday. The new arrangements reflect the disruptions to local travel and country locking down ahead of the arrival of Super Typhoon Hinnamnor, which is the biggest in the Pacific this year and may be the strongest ever to hit the country. Busan has been hit by typhoons on several previous occasions, one that beached a passenger ferry on the coast within sight of the ferry, another that wiped out the first days of the festival.

New Hire
Keshet International has tapped former Blue Ant exec Fleur Wheatley as sales VP, effective immediately.

Wheatley, who will be based in London, will oversee Keshet’s sales activities in the U.S., U.K., Canada and the Nordics, as well as global and regional SVODs and networks, including formats, scripted, unscripted, pre-buy and co-production opportunities. She will report to Keshet’s COO and president of distribution Keren Shahar.

Wheatley has previously worked for companies including Digital Rights Group and Femantle Media.

“I’m excited to be joining Keshet International as the company continues to strengthen its position as a key player in the international content business, bolstered by quality IP from Keshet 12 in Israel, its production arms in the U.S., U.K. and Germany, and third-party partners around the world,” said Wheatley.

Amazon Asia
Amazon has appointed David Simonsen to the new position of director Prime Video, Southeast Asia. He takes up the Singapore-based role with immediate effect. He will be responsible for the Prime Video business and marketing activities in the region, with a particular focus on Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines, where the service recently launched. Before joining Prime Video, he was 14 years at HBO Asia / Warner Media, latterly as SVP of commercial and business development, across 23 Asian territories. He was instrumental in the overhaul of HBO Go from a linear catch-up channel to a direct-to-consumer service in eight regional markets. Prior to that, he was with ESPN Star Sports, also in Singapore.

Antipodean series head to Mipcom
Red Arrow Studios International has acquired the global distribution rights to a pair of new drama titles – “Kid Sister” (5 x 30’), a coming-of-age comedy series from New Zealand-based production company Greenstone TV and “Summer Love” (8 x 30’), an anthology series from Australian producer Gristmill. The titles will headline the company’s MIPCOM scripted slate, which will also feature the upcoming third season of thrilling crime drama Vienna Blood. “Kid Sister” is created by Simone Nathan (“Our Flag Means Death”) who also stars as lead character ‘Lulu’. The series launched on TVNZ On Demand in New Zealand earlier this year. “Summer Love” is created and directed by the comedy writers Robyn Butler and Wayne Hope (“Upper Middle Bogan”), for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and sees eight very different sets of people rent the same beachside holiday house, where they experience some incarnation of love. Variety

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