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Lucy Hood, president and chief operating officer of the Television Academy who was respected for her keen understanding of digital media, has died after a battle with cancer. She was 56.

Hood, a former Fox and News Corp. exec, took the reins of the TV Academy from Alan Perris last June.

“It is with profound sadness that we have learned of the passing of our dynamic and passionate president and chief operating officer, Lucy Hood, after a courageous battle with cancer,” said TV Academy chairman-CEO Bruce Rosenblum. “Lucy was an innovator and thought leader, always focused on how to best serve an industry she loved. In the all-too-short time Lucy led the Television Academy, her extraordinary impact and contributions were deeply felt throughout the organization. Lucy will be greatly missed. Our hearts and prayers go out to her husband, Rob, and her two children, Rachel and Benjamin.”

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News of her death came as a surprise Wednesday afternoon to many people in the industry and even at the TV Academy who were not aware of her illness. In her short time at the helm, Hood pushed the org known for being tradition-bound to embracing the changing multi-platform landscape.

“We have to evolve as viewers evolve,” Hood told Variety last September. “I believe we’re in a new golden age of television.”

Hood came to the TV Academy after serving as exec director of USC’s Institute for Communication Technology Management. Previously, she served as Fox Mobile Entertainment prexy and as a senior VP for News Corp. focusing on digital media.

During her years at Fox and News Corp., Hood championed a number of cutting-edge digital efforts including “mobisodes” for the series “24.” She’s credited with helping to popularize text messaging in the U.S. by integrating the then-nascent technology into Fox’s “American Idol” in 2001.

Hood was respected within News Corp. for being ahead of the curve on the potential for digital and mobile services as an entertainment vehicle. She went to 20th Century Fox TV and Imagine TV to pitch the concept of the “24: Conspiracy” mobisodes that were crafted as an original production independent of the lensing of the drama series for Fox.

Hood left News Corp. after more than a decade in 2007. Earlier in her career, she was an exec at Paramount Pictures.

Hood held a MBA from Columbia U. and a BA from Yale U. She remained active in the Yale Alumni Service Corp., traveling annually to Ghana to help foster business programs in the African nations, particularly for women.

She is survived by her husband and two children as well as her mother and father.

 

In lieu of flowers, the family requests a donation to Yale Alumni Service Corps in memory of Lucy Hood, care of João Aleixo, Yale Alumni Service Corps, 232 York Street, New Haven, CT 06511.

 

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