Nora O'Brien was drama programming VP

Nora O’Brien, a drama programming exec at NBC and Universal Media Studios, died Wednesday evening while filming on location at a school in Berkeley for the NBC pilot “Parenthood.” She was 44.

O’Brien and other production staffers were shooting hoops on a basketball court during a break in filming when O’Brien fainted. She was taken away in an ambulance and died shortly afterward.

The cause of death has not been determined. O’Brien had not shown any signs of illness beforehand, her colleagues said.

“Our hearts go out to the family and friends of our beloved colleague Nora, who was respected and cherished by so many people in the entertainment community,” NBC U said in a statement. “She’ll truly be missed by all of us.”

The mood at NBC and Universal Media Studios was somber on Thursday as staffers absorbed the news of her death. Production on Imagine TV/Universal Media Studios’ “Parenthood,” exec produced by Jason Katims and helmed by Thomas Schlamme, was temporarily shut down but is expected to resume Saturday.

O’Brien was described as a warm person and a skilled executive who was well liked by the producers she worked with.

O’Brien had been veep of drama programming for NBC since January 2008. Among the shows she worked on were “Kings” and upcoming drama “The Philanthropist.” Prior to joining the network, she spent four years as veep of original programming at Sci Fi Channel. Before that, she spent five years as a production exec with Trilogy Entertainment Group.

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