RTÉ GLOBAL has announced the appointment of Janet Frawley as its new head of formats, with a brief to increase RTÉ Global's format portfolio and to direct and develop the division's Format Farm initiative.

An experienced executive producer, Frawley has spent the past six years working with RTÉ on the production of a broad slate of programming. Her responsibilities have included developing new formats, nurturing onscreen talent and creating self-financing production models for returnable series based on foreign sales potential.

Frawley was also instrumental in the reorganisation and re-location of RTÉ's flagship daytime show Today, and developed and exec produced a number of primetime returnable projects for the channel, including high-octane emergency series Ireland's Search and Rescue. Prior to RTÉ, Frawley worked for ITV Productions in a variety of roles, including series editor for daytime and lifestyle programming, and head of special events and features on This Morning.

Frawley said: “RTÉ's Format Farm is about developing, co-financing and broadcasting brilliant ideas. From paper to pilot, this initiative gives support to the production of original TV formats for both Irish and international audiences. We have such confidence in the industry that Format Farm has expanded from an annual call-out for ideas to a year-round search for the best formats on the market. To join the RTÉ Global team on the brink of such exciting expansion is perfect timing.”

Michelle Spillane, Director of RTÉ Global, added: “RTÉ Global has seen rapid growth in recent years, since the creation of Format Farm. We are delighted to have Janet as part of the team. She brings enormous experience and knowledge to the role at a time when we are expanding our format portfolio. We have a fantastic slate of both formats and programmes which we are looking forward to showcasing at MIPCOM.”

The Format Farm initiative, launched in 2012 to incubate indigenous Irish talent, sees RTÉ commission five original pilots from the country's independent production community, which are then aired on the public broadcaster to test their market appeal. Such has been the success to date that the new-look Format Farm will not be restricted to showcasing just pilots, but will also see the best Irish concepts taken directly to series.

Exiles, which is headlining RTÉ Global's 2014 MIPCOM format slate, is a topical example of a format that has gone straight to series. Bill Malone, Channel Controller of RTÉ2, has commissioned an eight-episode run of the unscripted docu-series from Dublin-based Straywave Media, which follows a group of seven ambitious young Irish emigrants as they attempt to launch their careers in Canada.

Malone said: “Once in a while a format comes along that you know has all the ingredients of a hit series and Exiles is our pick for 2015. It captures the zeitgeist and has obvious international potential. But first and foremost, I'm confident that our own viewers are going to love it. RTÉ2 is the destination for younger audiences — and those who think young — and we expect Exile, with its real lives, real drama, real jeopardy and great casting, to really resonate with that demographic.”

A look at a different aspect of emigration is offered in #Missing You, which is a moving portrayal of how people maintain relationships when far from their loved ones. RTÉ Global's is also rebooting one of its most popular formats, Celebrity Wild Trials, created by Crossing The Line Productions. The award-winning factual-entertainment series turns celebrities into wildlife photographers as they are challenged to film wild animals — from whales to mountain gorillas —in their natural habitats. What could possibly go wrong?