Goal is to restore fiscal health

SYDNEY — Denis Spencer, a former program director of the Australian Broadcasting Corp. and ex-production director for Oz’s Ten and Grundy Organization, has been appointed chief executive of Australian-Dutch joint venture Southern Star Endemol.

The Southern Star Endemol deal is one of several pacts aimed at restoring the fiscal health of Southern Star, which, like other Oz majors, has been hard hit by the downturn in European demand for international programming.

Last month, Carlton Communications’ American subsid Technicolor took a 32%, A$33 million ($18 million) stake in Southern Star’s Duplitek video, CD and DVD pressing biz.

Southern Star is now avoiding the risks it took in the past with deficit financing costly dramas. It has all but mothballed its film activity; in TV, its strategy is to produce shows financed by the likes of Britain’s Channel 4 and BSkyB and the U.S.’ New Line.

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