Granada Entertainment USA prexy Antony Root has ankled the company after three years at the top.

Root will still oversee and exec produce some Granada scripted fare but will otherwise be free to pursue production and development gigs elsewhere.

It’s uncertain whether Root will be replaced. His boss, Granada director of international production and entertainment Paul Jackson, will continue to oversee Granada Entertainment USA’s operations. Curt Northrup, who handles the shingle’s nonscripted output, reports to Jackson.

Root’s departure comes as Granada has shifted its international focus (including in the U.S.) from scripted to nonscripted fare.

“The emphasis until about nine or 10 months ago was TV movies and scripted series,” Root said. “But we have turned this into something different. After three years running a scripted house, and being a scripted specialist myself, it was time to step aside.”

Series challenges

While a mini-British invasion has hit primetime this fall (“Coupling,” “The Ortegas”), Granada hasn’t found much success translating its U.K. series for American auds.

Most recently, Granada produced Fox sitcom “The Grubbs,” which was based on its popular Britcom “The Royle Family.” The domestic version, starring Randy Quaid, made it to the schedule and taped eight episodes, which Fox then shelved.

” ‘The Grubbs’ was certainly a disappointment,” Root said. “The pilot script was one of the sharpest things I had ever read in the three years I’ve been here. But I think somewhere in the production process something in its essence was lost in the translation.”

Prior to Root’s tenure, Granada also didn’t have much luck with U.S. versions of “Cold Feet” and “Cracker.” Division had more success with the original Showtime series “Beggars and Choosers,” as well as a variety of broadcast and cable telepics.

Problems with indies

Beyond the usual difficulties of translating a U.K. series for American auds, Root pointed toward the ongoing struggles of producing scripted series as an independent.

“If you’re an indie producer, you’re never going to have the most influence in the sequence of events,” he said. “If you are just the executive producer and rights holder, you’ll never have as much power and influence in the process.”

Hence the move toward reality. ABC aired a version of Granada’s “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!” in February, while NBC picked up the shingle’s “American Princess.”

“From a business perspective, it’s a good business to be in,” Root said. “Everyone’s aware of the economic potential for the nonscripted format. It’s quite right for Granada to decide to emphasize this in all territories.”

Still, Granada Entertainment USA won’t completely abandon the sitcom and drama genres. USA Network recently gave an episodic order to the crime drama “Touching Evil,” from the Hughes brothers, Arnold Rifkin and Bruce Willis and based on the U.K. Granada series of the same name.

Root said the company also still has a few scripted series and a miniseries in the development pipeline.

Pride in projects

“I’m very proud of the 14 scripts I sold, six of which went to pilot — not a bad record,” he said.

Root first moved to Los Angeles from the U.K. in 1999 to handle Granada’s U.S. longform biz. He took over the entire division in 2000 upon the departure of Scott Siegler. Root, a two-time Emmy nominee, exec produced the miniseries “Tales of the City” and the film “Cold Comfort Farm.”

“Antony has been a driving force over the last three years, building our L.A. business as it has adapted successfully to new opportunities in the U.S. market,” said Granada Content CEO Simon Shaps.