After a decade as the Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest and as Head of Live Events for Eurovision, Jon Ola Sand is saying goodbye. The Norwegian broadcasting executive has announced his plans to pass the role on to someone else after the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 ends in May.
Famous for his catchphrase “take it away”, the Norwegian has played a crucial role in the contest since 2010. By virtue of his upper management skills and his charm, he also became a beloved character within the bubble. But Rotterdam will be the last Eurovision under his leadership. He will leave after the 2020 contest.
The official announcement
Jon Ola Sand today announced his intention to leave his current roles, along with a full explanation. “The past decade at the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has been fantastic and exciting”, the Norwegian said. “But it will also be good to come home.”
The official Eurovision site’s announcement explained that the beloved Norwegian isn’t retiring altogether. He will take up a new role at NRK, the Norwegian national broadcaster where Sand last worked before joining the EBU. It is unclear at the moment who will replace Sand as the Executive Supervisor starting 2021. Soon, the EBU will conduct a search to find Jon Ola’s successor.
???Take it Away! ??Jon Ola Sand will step down as #Eurovision Executive Supervisor & Head of Live Events for the…
There is speculation that Swedish TV producer Christer Björkman may be interested in the role. The Swedish producer will be leaving Melodifestivalen after the 2021 edition, making the timing right for a new role in Switzerland. However, Björkman has previously said that he is not interested in the Executive Supervisor role. Björkman is currently working on developing the “American Song Contest” project.
Jon Ola Sand and the Eurovision Song Contest
Jon Ola Sand first entered the world of the Eurovision Song Contest in 2010, when Norway hosted the show. While Sand was not especially a Eurovision fan, he had a strong background in live event television production and was employed as the Executive Producer of the show. Eurovision 2010 included the famous flashmob interval act, which remains one of the most beloved internal shows amongst Eurovision fans.
When the previous Executive Supervisor Svante Stockselius announced he was leaving, Sand was selected from 39 other applicants.
In his decade at the Eurovision Song contest, the Sand years have seen two non-English winners, Australia’s debut at the contest, a more thrilling voting sequence and — so far — 27 live shows that have been pulled off (mostly) without a hitch.
Fans on social media are also debating whether or not Sand’s departure will affect the quality of the contest. Sand has been involved in the management of the contest since 2010. Ever since the 2011 edition in Düsseldorf, he has held the two roles he will be passing next May.
What do you think of Jon Ola Sand leaving his role? Who should take it away next? Let us know in the comments below!