Sarah Barnett

president & general manager
BBC America

As president and general manager, Sarah Barnett is responsible for the day-to-day operations of BBC AMERICA, including the creative and brand strategy, production and development, digital strategy, audience innovation and marketing.  She was appointed to this post in November 2014.

With Barnett at the helm of BBC AMERICA, the network has seen unprecedented growth and exceptional recognition within the industry, including a 2016 Emmy® Award for Tatiana Maslany in the best actress category for critical hit Orphan Black. Under her leadership, BBC AMERICA has further established itself as a hub for fresh, culturally contagious programming that includes science-fiction cult favorite Doctor Who, the wildly bizarre Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency starring Elijah Wood, worldwide phenomenon and critical darling Planet Earth II, and the groundbreaking unscripted series Top Gear. BBC AMERICA is a top 10 social network in America, innovation and fandom is at the heart of Barnett’s mission.   Soon to join the networks’ impressive slate are Killing Eve from Phoebe Waller-Bridge and starring Sandra Oh, Blue Planet II and Top Gear America.

Named head of SundanceTV in 2009, Barnett redefined the channel, a turnaround described by tv critics as “remarkable.”   Barnett launched the network’s buzzy scripted strategy with the Golden Globe-winning Carlos, and then oversaw a slate of top quality, auteur-driven series that captured the highest critical acclaim and industry awards, including Rectify, Top of the Lake, The Returned and The Honorable Woman, among others.   She also launched socially relevant unscripted shows like Jamie Oliver’s Dream School,  Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys and the award winning Push Girls, along with a number of shows about culture and storytelling such as The Writers’ Room, The Approval Matrix, Close Up, With The Hollywood Reporter and Behind the Story with the Paley Center.

Barnett joined SundanceTV from a previous stint at BBC AMERICA where she served as head of on-air and creative marketing.   She also executive produced several original shows for BBC AMERICA. Before BBC AMERICA, Barnett spent 12 years with the BBC in London, where she produced and directed, working first for BBC radio and then BBC television.

Barnett was featured in The New York Times “Corner Office” column and has been profiled in Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Adweek, The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company and Indiewire, among many others.  She has been included in Variety’s Gotham Power List, Variety’s Women’s Impact Report as well as The Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment Power 100 List. Barnett was also inducted into the Multichannel News’ Wonder Women 2014 class and has been named to the CableFAX Top 100 and Most Powerful Women lists.

Barnett earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in history of art from the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom.


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