U.S. Producer Christina Wayne Appointed Head of Saudi-Owned MBC Group’s Production Arm
Prominent U.S. producer Christina Wayne, who shepherded “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad,” has been appointed managing director of MBC Studios, the expanding production arm of top Middle East broadcaster MBC Group.
Wayne will replace Peter Smith, the former president of NBCUniversal, who over the past four years has overseen a surge in the Saudi-owned broadcaster’s production activity while launching its Shahid VIP streaming service, alongside its linear channels. MBC Studios is now pumping hundreds of millions of dollars in high-end productions in Saudi Arabia as part of the ongoing effort to help kickstart the kingdom’s nascent industry. To this end, MBC significantly moved its headquarters from Dubai to Riyadh last year.
In her new role, Wayne will continue MBC Studios’ “ongoing work in expanding the reach of its content to audiences around the world, leveraging the continuous trend for non-English-language television content to reach more global markets,” the company said in a statement.
Smith, who shepherded the production of many big-budget flagship MBC Studios shows, including “The Devil’s Promise,” which is a series created by Tony Jordan (“Life on Mars”) helmed by British director Colin Teague, and big-budget Saudi actioner “Desert Warrior,” featuring an all-star international cast led by “Captain America” star Anthony Mackie and Aiysha Hart (“Mogul Mowgli,” “Colette”), stepped down last month for undisclosed reasons. He will remain on board as an advisor.
“Christina brings with her a wealth of international expertise in content development and production where she has worked across a multitude of territories and languages, and led on the development of Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning series,” said MBC CEO Sam Barnett in a statement.
“We look forward to her building on the team’s successes as we continue to expand our horizons in international content even further,” he added.
Said Wayne: “I am absolutely delighted to join MBC Group and MBC Studios and have heard great things about the incredible team Peter and the rest of MBC have built. This is a very exciting venture for me, and I cannot wait to get fully involved in one of the world’s most exciting territories for content production.”
Wayne stepped down last year as head of Canadian and Australian originals at Amazon Studios where she played a key role in the development of the Canadian originals strategy. She was previously president of Canada’s Cineflix Studios before departing in 2013 to produce content under her production banner Assembly Entertainment. Before joining Cineflix, Wayne served as senior VP of scripted programming at AMC where she helped develop “Mad Men,” “Breaking Bad” and “Broken Trail.”
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