EXCLUSIVE: Amazon’s UK content arm, which is behind series such as Clarkson’s Farm and The Rig, is saying goodbye to its boss.
Dan Grabiner, who is Head of UK Originals, UK & Northern Europe, Amazon Studios – Prime Video UK, will leave the company in mid-October. Amazon confirmed his exit to Deadline today and staff were informed this morning.
Grabiner is set to launch his own production business, according to an internal note from Amazon Head of International Originals James Farrell seen by Deadline.
Tara Erer, who is currently Head of Local Original Movies for Amazon Studios, will step into Grabiner’s role. She has been with the Local Originals team for four years, leading a centralized global team on films such as Culpa Mia, Sayen and Argentina 1985.
Grabiner, who was previously Head of Unscripted for Amazon Studios UK, was promoted to Head of UK Originals, UK in June 2021. He had joined two years prior to build the unscripted slate.
It marks the latest change to Amazon’s UK television and film business after Georgia Brown, who was Head of Amazon Studios in Europe, stepped down in August 2022 and Martin Backlund left his post as Prime Video Head of Content for the UK and Nordics to become MD of the Nordic unit. Amazon’s UK team includes the likes of Cat Lynch, Fozia Khan, Jonathan Lewsley and Harjeet Chhokar.
In his most recent role, Grabiner was responsible for Prime Video’s original film and television teams in the UK, Germany, Netherlands, Nordics and Eastern Europe.
Projects that he has worked on have included the All or Nothing sports franchise, which has covered football teams including Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal, and scripted series including The Devil’s Hour, exec produced by Steven Moffat, The Rig, starring Martin Compston, Iain Glen and Emily Hamphire, and hip hop drama Jungle.
In 2022, he also launched the Prime Video Pathway, a £10M ($12.5M) initiative to bolster diversity within the UK’s film and television workforce.
Before joining Amazon, Grabiner was Head of Development at ITN, where he worked on shows including Interview with a Murderer and Michael Palin in North Korea.
“Regrettably, I am writing to let you know that Dan Grabiner is leaving Amazon to start his own company, and more details are soon to follow from Dan himself,” Farrell wrote to staff in a note today. “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 humor will serve him well in his upcoming venture.”
Farrell added Grabiner and Erer were “already collaborating on a smooth handover.”
Erer has “shown great taste in the kinds of films customers want to watch, and she has proven to be a wonderful teammate and collaborator across our team, CAM, BA, production, finance and many others. She has been UK based for over a year, and I am so happy she will be remaining in London and taking on this key role of leading the Local Originals teams in Northern Europe,” wrote Farrell.
Among Grabiner’s biggest challenges at Amazon was dealing with the fall out of Jeremy Clarkson’s newspaper column, in which he wrote that Meghan Markle should be “made to parade naked through the streets of every town in Britain while the crowds throw lumps of excrement at her” and compared her to serial killer Rose West. Press regulator Ipso censured the column. The Clarkson’s Farm star Clarkson and The Sun newspaper both apologized for its publication.
Grabiner told delegates at the recent Edinburgh TV Festival that no decision had been made on the future of the popular Clarkson’s Farm and claimed it was “a hell of a lot bigger than Jeremy Clarkson.” Season two became Prime Video UK’s biggest ratings show since the country’s ratings body began collecting data from major streaming services. Season three is currently shooting.
Additional reporting by Jesse Whittock