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Laszlo Barna, prexy of eOne Television is stepping down Feb. 1 to create TV/film production venture Pier 21 Films, which will have a first-look agreement with parent company eOne.

“Laszlo has played a pivotal role in shaping our rapidly expanding business,” said eOne TV CEO John Morayniss. “While we will definitely miss his larger-than-life presence, I’m thrilled we will continue to work closely with him.”

The company has begun the hunt for his replacement.

Barna, a major force in independent Canadian film and TV production, began his career as a docu director and producer in the 1980s.

He built his reputation as a creative exec on numerous series including “Da Vinci’s Inquest” and films produced through his Barna Alper Prods., which eOne bought in 2008. Since then he has exec produced series “Haven” (Syfy), “Call Me Fitz” (HBO Canada) and the soon-to-preem “Skins” (MTV) plus 2010 Toronto Film Festival pics “Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Story” and “The Bang Bang Club.”

“I’m looking forward to getting back to my first loves — production, spending more time on the set and building a company from the ground up,” said Barna.

His new company is named after Pier 21, the Canadian equivalent to Ellis Island, in Halifax, where Barna and his parents landed in the late 1950s following the Hungarian uprising.