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O’Donoghue to leave NBC Universal

Exec headed international TV production arm

LONDON — NBC Universal and noted Brit producer Denise O’Donoghue have parted company less than six months after O’Donoghue agreed to head up the studio’s international TV production arm.

In a terse statement, the studio said that both parties had “mutually agreed to exercise an option for O’Donoghue to exit her role as president, international TV productions.”

“Denise wishes to continue her work with producers more directly and so to return to production,” it stated.

“NBC Universal will now actively recruit a replacement for this key leadership position.”

O’Donoghue, one of the pioneers of U.K. independent production, having co-founded Hat Trick in the 1980s, was the surprise choice to succeed Angela Bromstad when it was announced last August that she would be joining NBC Universal in September.

At the time, the studio’s international president Peter Smith branded O’Donoghue as “the ideal leader for the business.” But clearly the relationship has not worked out.

Many industryites had assumed that O’Donoghue had retired from the TV biz in 2003 after she sold her stake in Hat Trick for a reported £11.27 million ($18.2 million).

Her job at NBC Universal involved leading TV production and strategic TV content partnerships across all territories outside the U.S.

The company, which owns U.K. shingle Carnival, aims to double non-U.S. revenues to $5 billion within the next two years, mainly through local TV and film production, expanding pay TV channels and growth in key overseas markets, especially Blighty.

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