Exec to leave in December

LONDON — Endemol topper Peter Bazalgette is quitting the Dutch-based entertainment giant as part of a management restructuring that includes the appointment of a new chief operating officer.

Bazalgette, a flamboyant presence on the local and international media scene, will ankle at the end of December but will continue to act as an adviser to Endemol in 2008.

His departure has been predicted since a consortium headed by the group’s co-founder, John de Mol, bought Endemol, creator of “Big Brother” and “Deal or No Deal,” in May for $3.5 billion from Spanish telco Telefonica.

“Having guided Endemol through an IPO and then a company sale, I have decided this is a good time to make a change of direction in my career,” said Bazalgette, who was appointed chief creative officer in January 2005. “But I’m not cutting the umbilical cord completely, and I look forward to continuing to collaborate with the company in 2008.”

A tireless defender of reality TV, Bazalgette was, as an indie producer, one of the pioneers of lifestyle formats, including “Ready Steady Cook” and “Changing Rooms.”

Bazalgette has eclectic interests. He is deputy chairman of the National Film and Television School, a board member at the English National Opera and an occasional broadcaster and writer.

Endemol’s new COO is Marco Bassetti, who joined the company in 1997 and is a former managing director of Endemol Italia.

He succeeds Tom Barnicoat, who left in March, prior to the sale, and was believed to be one of the unsuccessful bidders for the combo.

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