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Oz TV vet Melville ankles producer-distrib XYZ Ent.

Exec quits for personal reasons, Fairweather to step in

SYDNEY — The Australian feevee sector has lost one of its pioneers with the recent resignation of XYZ Entertainment chief executive Paul Melville. XYZ executive producer of drama Ian Fairweather will be acting chief exec in place of Melville, who quit for personal reasons.

Owned equally by Rupert Murdoch and Kerry Packer’s leading cabler, Foxtel, and Denver-based UnitedGlobalCom’s soon-to-float rural paybox Austar, XYZ is Oz’s leading producer-distrib of such feevee channels as entertainment service Arena, the Lifestyle Channel, a musicvideo channel, Nickelodeon and Discovery.

Privileged partaking

“It has been a privilege to be part of the startup of a whole new industry, which will continue to provide jobs and creative opportunities for thousands of young Australians,” said Melville, 45, a former reporter who joined XYZ in 1994 after 15 years as a producer with the Nine, Ten and Seven networks.

“I understand that after five years in a demanding startup industry, Paul now wishes to consider other ventures and spend more time with his young family,” said Tom Mockridge, XYZ chairman and Foxtel topper.

“Paul will be a loss to XYZ but hopefully not a loss to the Australian television industry, where I assume he will continue to have a significant role.”

On feevee front

In other feevee shuffles, former XYZ acquisitions director Paul Ridley has quit as Becker Entertainment head of TV to return to feevee as chief exec of the Comedy Channel, replacing Nick Murray, who left to establish Jigsaw Entertainment.

The Comedy Channel’s former acting topper Selena Crowley has been tapped programming and acquisitions head of TV1, a joint-venture channel between Paramount, Sony and Universal.

Also, Teleri Roberts, former sales head of Scottish TV Enterprises’ international distribution division Cascade, has been appointed the inaugural general manager of Southern Star Kids, the children’s and family programming division of the Oz major.