John Bredar To Head WGBH National Productions

WGBH Boston President Jonathan Abbott today announced that producer and television executive John Bredar will join WGBH as vice president of national programming. He succeeds Margaret Drain who steps down this spring after 25 years with the Boston public broadcaster.

Bredar comes to WGBH from National Geographic Television, where he was senior executive producer for the National Geographic Specials, a series he developed into a thriving production enterprise. He created the Inside series, which included the highly rated Inside the White House and Inside the Vatican. He has produced 25 documentary films on topics ranging from science and the natural world to history, drama, and political investigation.

“John Bredar has a well-earned reputation for productions of the highest quality,” said Abbott. “He has been a partner with us on Nova, and we are thrilled that he now will be part of WGBH, leading our talented editorial teams. He embraces the educational mission of public media and will be a champion for our creative content.”

Abbott also announced the creation of a new position, senior executive for content development, and tapped respected WGBH producer and executive Denise DiIanni for the role, leading research and concept development of new programs and series.

Bredar will have oversight of WGBH’s primetime series produced in Boston and seen nationally on PBS, including American Experience, Nova, Frontline, Masterpiece, Antiques Roadshow and others, as well as related content for new media.

Bredar joined National Geographic in 1986. As executive producer of the co-production with WGBH’s Nova about primate intelligence, “Ape Genius,” Bredar was recognized with a George Foster Peabody Award. He wrote and executive-produced “Illicit: The Dark Trade” (based on the book by Moises Naim), which was nominated for Best Investigative Documentary Emmy. He is the author of The President’s Photographer, the companion book to the National Geographic Special that follows President Obama’s photographer and reveals the history of presidential photographers.


Bredar holds a BS degree in radio, television and film with a double major in U.S. history from Northwestern University, and a MA in American diplomatic history from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Bredar will join WGBH in early April.

During Denise DiIanni’s WGBH tenure she has served in a variety of production, business and creative capacities, including: executive in charge of research and development for national programming where she oversaw the development of limited series, including the critically acclaimed Broadway or Bust, the Lidia Celebrates America specials, and the upcoming six-part Sacred Journeys series; executive producer for Nova; executive in charge of Boston Media Productions, with oversight of studio and documentary programming in public affairs, arts, culture and education, including Greater Boston, High School Quiz Show, Basic Black and La Plaza. DiIanni created Eye on Education, a 10-year multimedia examination of public education, and she was founding director of the WGBH Lab, public media’s first user-generated and open content project. A long-time mentor to emerging documentary makers, she also launched WGBH’s Filmmakers in Residence Program.

Prior to joining WGBH DiIanni lived and worked in Europe and Latin America as a photo editor and independent producer.

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Pamela McNeil says:

April 7, 2013 at 4:10 pm


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