Smithsonian Networks Programming Boss David Royle To Leave ViacomCBS

EXCLUSIVE: There’s more change at the top of the Smithsonian Networks.

David Royle, Executive Vice President, Programming and Production, is leaving the company after 14 years.

Deadline understands that Royle, a well-known figure in the international factual world, will be leaving in the new year. He is set to pursue new ventures.

It is the latest change at the factual cable network. Tom Hayden, former President of Smithsonian Networks, exited in May amid the ViacomCBS integration of its entertainment and youth groups. Earlier this month, MTV Entertainment Group named PBS NewsHour and former Nightline producer James F. Blue III as SVP, Head of Smithsonian Channel. Blue is also overseeing News and Factual Unscripted content for MTV Entertainment’s portfolio of brands across streaming, linear and digital, dual-reporting to Chris McCarthy, President, MTV Entertainment Group and Nina L. Diaz, President of Content and Chief Creative Officer.

Royle, who was part of the team that launched Smithsonian Channel, as a joint venture between Showtime Networks and the Smithsonian Institute in 2006, was responsible for commissioning, acquiring and co-producing of series, specials and features for the network

This includes series such as Damian Lewis: Spy Wars, which was a ratings hit for the network, and titles such as Aerial America, Titanoboa and MLK: The Assassination Tapes.

Recent commissions include Ultimate Viking starring Game Of Thrones’ Kristofer Hivju’s and Cher’s Elephant Airlift.

Royle joined the company in 2006, having spent nine years at National Geographic, where he was EVP, Production and launched series including Search for the Afghan Girl and SuperCroc and exec produced Nat Geo’s Explorer.

Prior to that, he was an independent filmmaker in New York, making films such as Inside Gorbachev’s USSR and PBS’s Senator Sam.

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