PBS hires veteran commercial TV exec as programming chief
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Perry Simon, PBS’ newly announced programming chief, is a veteran of commercial broadcasting, cable and digital media who said Monday it’s a “privilege” to join public television.
PBS president and CEO Paula Kerger said that Simon will start in September as chief programming executive and general manager, with responsibility for all fare except that for children.
Kerger, speaking to a TV critics’ meeting Monday, lauded the scope of Simon’s career experience and his work in the non-profit arts sector.
The search to replace Beth Hoppe, who left as programming chief in February to join ABC News, focused on someone who understood the changing media landscape and how PBS reaches viewers on different platforms, including digital ones, Kerger said.
An executive committed to the “values and mission of PBS” and who believes in its value was critical in making the selection, she said.
Simon, who held executive positions at Viacom Productions and NBC Entertainment, most recently served as managing director at Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s Vulcan Productions, which makes documentaries, TV series and digital content and has teamed with PBS on projects including the recent documentary “Going to War.”
From 2010-15, Simon was BBC America’s general manager and oversaw production of its first original programs including the Emmy-winning series “Orphan Black.” He also was involved in U.S-British productions including the dramas “Luther” and “Broadchurch.”
In a statement, Simon called PBS’ commitment to “quality, education and diversity across every genre” unmatched in the TV industry. He told The Associated Press he considers it a privilege to work in public television, declining to talk about his new job in detail before officially starting at PBS.
Simon, who serves on the board of directors of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, earned a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University and a master’s degree from Harvard Business School.