Parkinson joins Crawfords

He's new head of co-production development

SYDNEY — Bruce Gordon’s Crawfords Australia has hired one of New Zealand’s most experienced producers to spearhead its international co-productions.

Tom Parkinson, head of Auckland-based Isambard Prods., joins Crawfords Monday in the new post of head of co-production development.

Crawfords managing director David Rouse says Crawfords is looking to step up its co-productions after its successful collaboration with France’s Gaumont Television in the six-hour mini “The Violent Earth.”

Parkinson’s mission is to assemble miniseries and series that can be financed without an Australian pre-sale, Rouse says. Among the projects Parkinson is developing are “Warriors of Virtue,” a series spinoff from the eponymous MGM movie, and a family telepic.

Rouse says the aim to find international partners stems partly from the fact that the Australian webs all appear fully stocked with local drama series. Crawfords is making a second series of “State Coroner” for the Ten network and is prepping “Tribe,” a four-hour mini, for Seven.

A former head of entertainment programming at Television New Zealand and founder of private Kiwi web TV3, Parkinson launched Isambard eight years ago. Some 80% of its output has been geared to international markets. Isambard’s TV series credits include “The Adventures of Black Beauty,” “Black Stallion,” “Homeward Bound” and “The Magic Box.”

The Crawfords post “suits my talents … it’s going to be very exciting,” Parkinson told Daily Variety. Isambard will continue operating with a small staff headed by producer Malcolm Hall, he added.

Isambard’s studios are sublet to Pacific Renaissance, the producer of “Xena: Warrior Princess” and “Young Hercules.”