Duff out in ongoing TVNZ turmoil

Resignation follows a 21% cut to ad rates on TV One

Pubcaster Television New Zealand has parted company with its director of programming, Annmarie Duff.

A former TVNZ marketing director, Duff was an unpopular choice with local TV producers when she took over in September 2004 because of her lack of programming experience.

During her two-year run TVNZ’s TV One share of its target 25-54 demographic fell from 55% to 37%, led by a collapse of its 6 p.m. newscast.

Her resignation, effective at the end of 2006, followed a 21% cut to advertising rates on TV One.

Chief executive Rick Ellis announced the move Tuesday, saying Duff was stepping down to take a break from corporate life and spend more time with her family.

Duff did not return calls seeking comment.

She is just the latest programming executive to leave TVNZ following a succession of governance problems last year that saw the resignation of then chief executive Ian Fraser and a parliamentary inquiry into its management.

After Fraser was replaced in May by Rick Ellis; his deputy chief executive and head of content Stephen Smith stepped down a month later.

Last month Smith was replaced as head of TV by former sales boss and producer Jeff Latch.

Shortly thereafter, TV One programmer Liz Fraser stepped down from her job and was replaced by TV2 programmer Jane Wilson.

Under the new structure, Wilson will oversee both channels, reporting to Latch.

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