AJAM Staffs Up Documentary, Sports Units

By Alex Weprin Comment

Al Jazeera America is adding more reporters to its ranks, this time building out new documentary and sports units. The docs unit will be led by Kathy Davidov as senior EP and Cynthia Kane as senior producer.  Davidov joins AJAM from Nat Geo Television, where she was executive VP of production, while Kane comes from ITVS.

AJAM’s sports unit will be helmed by Neal Scarbrough as senior EP and Jeff Green as EP. Scarbrough comes from Comcast, where he was VP of digital media for Versus (now NBC Sports Network), and previously served as the head of AOL’s sports unit. Green is a holdover from Current TV, where he was supervising producer of special events,. he was previously involved in the launch of the YES Network. AJAM will launch a weekly sports show by the end of the year, with a weekend sports program planned for 2014.

More on both units, below.


Kathy Davidov Named Senior Executive Producer And Cynthia Kane Senior Producer

NEW YORK – (August 6, 2013) – Al Jazeera America, the new American news channel that will launch Aug. 20, today announced that Kathy Davidov has joined the channel as Al Jazeera America’s senior executive producer and Cynthia Kane as the senior producer for its new in-house documentary film unit.

“Kathy, Cynthia and the documentary team will be building on Al Jazeera’s unwavering commitment to create groundbreaking, award-winning programming told from the human side of the story,” said Shannon High-Bassalik, senior vice president, documentaries and programs for Al Jazeera America. “From Peabody and Polk Awards to Foreign Press Association and Alfred I. duPont Columbia University Awards, Al Jazeera documentaries have been highly regarded by the most prestigious journalism organizations in the world. That rich tradition will continue at Al Jazeera America under Kathy and Cynthia’s leadership.”

Davidov, who will lead the Al Jazeera America documentary team, will oversee and executive produce original documentary programming from development through production. She will also commission and acquire documentaries and series and be responsible for developing cross-platform programming for the documentaries that will explore topics such as immigration, education, poverty, healthcare and the justice system.

Prior to joining Al Jazeera America, Davidov was the executive vice president of production for National Geographic Television, where she provided creative guidance for all content. This includes award-winning investigative specials for the long-running Explorer series and many of the highest rated series on the National Geographic Channel including Brain Game and Border Wars. Davidov also served as an executive producer at TLC where she helmed shows such as Trading Spaces. She has also produced for Discovery, CNN, NBC, America’s Most Wanted, and USA Today on TV.

“I’m delighted to be joining this talented team of journalists and filmmakers at Al Jazeera America” Davidov said. “Together, we will tell the important stories that are too often overlooked and give those who rarely have a voice the opportunity to be heard.”

Kane will work closely with Davidov on all commissions, co-productions and acquisitions, sourcing one-off documentaries and documentary series.

Kane comes to Al Jazeera America from ITVS where she managed more than 150 international and domestic projects. Prior to ITVS, Kane worked in programming and acquisitions at Sundance Channel where she focused on documentaries and was the co-creator of “Doc Day.”

“It’s fantastic to be a part of Al Jazeera America’s documentary unit,” said Kane. “I have been a huge fan of the Al Jazeera and am looking forward to working with established and emerging domestic and international filmmakers. We hope to provide a new platform for original points of view and seldom-heard voices and bring compelling, innovative stories and insights to American viewers.”

Al Jazeera America, which will launch on August 20, is the new U.S. news channel that will provide both domestic and international news for American audiences. It will be headquartered in New York City with bureaus in 12 cities across the United States.

Visit Al Jazeera America online at http://www.aljazeera.com/america for the latest updates.You can also like us on Facebook www.facebook.com/aljazeeraamerica, follow us on Twitter @AJAM (www.twitter.com/ajam) and join the conversation using #AlJazeeraAmerica.


NEW YORK – (August 6, 2013) – Al Jazeera America, the new American news channel that will launch Aug. 20, today announced that Neal Scarbrough has been hired as its senior executive producer for sports programming and Jeff Green will serve as executive producer of sports programming.

“Al Jazeera America is committed to going beyond scores to tell the sports stories and news that matter to people,” said Shannon High-Bassalik, senior vice president, documentaries and programs for Al Jazeera America. “Neal and Jeff have decades of experience and a passion for all sports from the biggest NFL or NBA game to youth soccer or the Pike’s Peak Hill Climb. We are excited to have them join the channel.”

An award-winning journalist with two decades of newsroom experience in print, digital and television, Scarbrough comes to Al Jazeera America from Comcast, where he served as vice president of digital media for the Versus Sports Network (now NBC Sports Network) before transitioning to corporate communications.

Prior to Versus, Scarbrough ran the sports division at AOL and was senior news director and editor-in-chief at ESPN.com. He served on the Pulitzer Prize-winning team at The Denver Post that in 1999 was honored for its breaking news coverage of the Columbine High School massacre. He has also won an Online Journalism Award for General Excellence and been named one of the Top 10 Most Influential People in Online Sports.

“Al Jazeera America will feature one-of-a-kind sports coverage that will be perfect for both news junkies and passionate sports fans,” said Scarbrough. “The weekly show we’re developing will delve into the top stories across sports and deliver new faces and places to American fans.”

Before joining Al Jazeera America, Green was the supervising producer of special events at Current TV. He also played an integral role in the launch of Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network (YES) and MSNBC. Green also has produced six feature films.

“I have been a fan of Al Jazeera for many years,” said Green. “The chance to help bring its unique, comprehensive storytelling style to the U.S. and to the world of sports was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”

Al Jazeera America will feature regular sports updates, interviews and features throughout the day. An in-depth weekly sports magazine show will begin by year’s end and a second weekend sports show is planned for 2014.