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James F Blue III Named Head of ViacomCBS’ Smithsonian Channel

Blue is a former ”PBS NewsHour“ producer

James F. Blue III will be the new head of ViacomCBS’ Smithsonian Channel, it was announced Friday.

Blue comes to the non-fiction network from PBS, where he served as the special projects and senior producer on “PBS NewsHour.” His appointment comes after Tom Hayden left as president of Smithsonian Networks earlier this year.

According to ViacomCBS, Blue will lead, expand and diversify Smithsonian Channel’s content offerings to build on its momentum and support the Institution’s efforts to engage, inspire and educate. His oversight will also include content creation and all related experiential and event programming. He will report jointly to Nina L. Diaz and Chris McCarthy, Chief Creative Officer and President of MTV Entertainment Group, respectively.

“MTV Entertainment has an extraordinarily talented team, and I am thrilled to be joining them,” said Blue. “I look forward to leveraging my expertise and experience to help shape and implement MTV Entertainment’s strategic vision for Smithsonian and other news, factual and non-fiction content across, and even beyond, the Group’s platforms.”

“Smithsonian is a world-class brand rich with treasures from our shared American experience,” said McCarthy. “James is an exceptionally talented executive and incredible storyteller who will bring those iconic treasures and experiences to life across all of our platforms.”

“James’ illustrious storytelling skills make him the perfect fit to lead this next chapter of the Smithsonian Channel,” said Diaz. “With endless material to unleash, I can’t wait to see his unique vision for this storied brand come to life.”

Blue is also a former executive producer for BET Networks, a role he held during the 2012 presidential election cycle, helping to secure interviews with Barack and Michelle Obama.