Broadcast 8 September 2023

Revealed: Dan Grabiner’s new venture

Dan Grabiner is exiting Amazon Prime Video to set up premium factual label Orchard Studios with former The Garden chief executive Nicola Hill.

The new company will focus on premium unscripted formats, factual entertainment and documentary programming.

Based in London, Grabiner will assume the role as chief executive, while Hill will become Orchard’s managing director and will oversee operations, production management and business affairs. 

Grabiner, who joined Prime Video in 2019, was given an expanded remit in March this year, overseeing key European territories such as Germany, the Nordics and the Netherlands as well as the streamer’s British team. 

“I’ve loved building something big from scratch at Amazon and I’ve been lucky enough to do that with a brilliant team and mighty creative collaborators,” said Grabiner. “Now it’s time to do that again with Orchard and I’m fired-up about growing a new kind of studio, where ambitious ideas are nurtured into your favourite show.”

It is understood that Orchard Studios is now recruiting for various roles, with the creative leadership team set to be announced in due course.

Orchard Studios has been backed by capital secured from a private media investment group and was created following collaboration with Matisse. Its execs, Nick Curwin, Scarlett Ewens and Edwina Silver, are providing creative, strategic and talent support. 

During his time at Amazon, Grabiner shepherded tentpole series including The Grand Tour, the All or Nothing sports franchise, Clarkson’s Farm and The Devil’s Hour. He is also behind the upcoming Bond gameshow format 007: Road to a Million, which launches later this year.

Outside of content commissioning. Grabiner founded the Prime Video Pathway initiative, designed to upskill and diversify the creative industry, as well as building apprenticeship schemes at both Amazon and his previous employer ITN.

He will exit Amazon in October. In an internal note, seen by Broadcast, Grabiner said he was “extremely sad to leave”.

He added: “I count myself very lucky to be part of the extraordinary Prime Video story. From a tiny team dreaming-up a brand-new slate five years ago, has grown a terrific array of films and series with passionate fanbases around the world. What an honour it has been to share that journey.”

James Farrell, Amazon Studios’ head of international originals, praised Grabiner as one of the company’s “star players”.

“Regrettably, I am writing to let you know that Dan Grabiner is leaving Amazon to start his own company,” Farrell wrote in an internal memo. “I must say that it has been a great pleasure working with Dan since he joined in 2019, firstly building our hit Amazon Studios UK unscripted slate, before stepping-up to lead the UK, and then Northern Europe too.

“I know his intellect, his EQ, his creative instincts and his sense of humour will serve him well in his upcoming venture. The team in the UK has been on such an incredible run lately with The Rig, The Devil’s Hour, All or Nothing, Clarkson’s Farm and The Grand Tour, to upcoming titles like Wilderness, 007: Road to a Million - the analogy I find most fitting is that when a team has had that kind of success, it’s bound to lose one of its star players.”

Read the full article on Broadcast

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