SBS Announces Senior Commissioning Team Appointments


SBS today announced John Godfrey as the new Head of SBS Commissioning, taking on a newly created role to oversee the network’s slate of commissioned unscripted and scripted content, with Joseph Maxwell promoted to Head of SBS Unscripted.

Godfrey has led the commissioning of SBS’s unscripted slate for the past six years, during which SBS has expanded and diversified its offerings in both television and digital. He first joined SBS in 2008 and has been instrumental in positioning SBS as a leader in hard-hitting documentaries, including award-winning programs. Go back where you came from, first contact and Filthy Rich and homeless, as well as overseeing the introduction of new factual formats like Mastermind, The Cook Up with Adam Liaw and Celebrity letters and numbers.

Godfrey has also been instrumental in the ongoing development of initiatives and opportunities designed to support the career paths of screen practitioners from underrepresented communities, and SBS’s approach to inclusion. in the sector through its equity and inclusion guidelines introduced earlier this year.

Joseph Maxwell, head of documentaries at SBS, has also been promoted to head of SBS Unscripted, which sees him overseeing documentaries as well as entertainment, food commissions and online content, including SBS Voices.

Since joining SBS in 2012, Joseph has directed a number of SBS’s most successful and impactful documentaries that cement the network’s position as a leader in compelling and distinctive original Australian storytelling, including landmark programming. See what you made me do, who do you think you are?, Addicted Australia, and more recently, The Australian Wars.

As head of Unscripted, Joseph will continue to oversee SBS’s slate of documentaries, which over the coming year includes a diverse collection of programs that will challenge, inform and entertain audiences, including one of its most ambitious projects ever undertaken in Alone Australia.He will also lead delivery of the wider SBS youA scripted slate that in 2023 includes highlights like 40 years of Eurovision on SBS, and a number of new and recurring food series exploring culture through cuisine.

Bernadine Lim also becomes commissioning editor on the unscripted commissioning team, continuing to play a leading role in key original documentaries for SBS.

Julie Eckersley continues as Head of SBS Scripted as SBS expands its commitment to original Australian drama with three primetime series premiering in a year for the first time in 2023 in Safe Home, erotic stories and While the men are away. Under Eckersley’s leadership, SBS’s scripted offering also continues to focus on supporting and advancing screen creations currently underrepresented in the industry, providing a platform for a new guard of contemporary Australian storytellers. . This includes the successful Digital Originals initiative with Screen Australia, with the latest project, The latecomers, premiering on SBS VICELAND and SBS On Demand on December 3.

Kathryn Fink, Director of Television at SBS, said: “SBS will deliver our widest range of original Australian content over the coming year, with an innovative and dynamic pipeline of projects in development. We are bringing together our scripted and unscripted commissioning teams into one creative powerhouse, overseen by John Godfrey, Head of Commissioning, to support our plans for the year ahead and our ambition for the future.

“I am thrilled that John is taking on this important role at this pivotal and exciting time for SBS, and that Joseph, who has played a key role in cementing SBS’s position as a leader in compelling and impactful documentaries, is extending his tenure. to oversee all of SBS’s unscripted offering.

“Our content plans for the year ahead are unlike anything else, underpinned by our unique focus at SBS and delivering more to Australians. We want to keep raising the bar, and I look forward to working closely with John, Joseph and the wider commissioning team to keep pushing the boundaries.

The appointments take effect from today.

For a PDF version of this press release, Click here.

About John Godfrey

As Head of Commissioning at SBS, John Godfrey oversees SBS’s signature commissioned content delivery through unscripted and scripted original programming.

Prior to his appointment to the role in November 2022, John was Head of Unscripted for SBS, overseeing commissioned documentaries, factual entertainment, food and entertainment across SBS channels and platforms. This includes everything from Eurovision song contest, Brain and Cooking with Adam Liawto SBS’ wide range of original standalone documentaries and series.

He joined SBS in 2008 and during his time with the network he was responsible for some of SBS’s highest rated and iconic programs including Go back where you came from, first contact, street of struggleand Filthy Rich and Homeless.

John has been in Australia since 2003, working in the UK for 10 years producing series/exec for Channel 4 and BBC2.

About Joseph Maxwell
Joseph joined SBS in January 2012 as an editor before becoming head of documentaries in 2016 and then head of Unscripted in 2022. His list of shows at SBS ranges from returning series such as Who do you think you are?, Filthy Rich and Homeless and Every family has a secretto landmark documentary series such as australia addicted, Look what you made me do and the recent SBS series, The Australian Wars. He also oversaw the launch of a unique new documentary strand Australia discovered, now in its second season, and whose a number of films have won rave reviews and major industry awards, including Strong female leader and Our African roots.

Prior to SBS, Joseph developed, directed and produced high-end prime time documentaries for most of the UK’s major broadcasters.


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