TORONTO — Shaftesbury, one of Canada’s top TV production companies, is launching a L.A.-based U.S. division, which will focus on developing content for the U.S. market, the company announced Tuesday.

Tom Mazza and Maggie Murphy have been tapped as co-heads and will report directly to Shaftesbury chairman and CEO Christina Jennings, starting Thursday.

Establishing a local presence in the U.S. is the next important step in the growth of our company,” said Jennings, who founded Shaftesbury in 1987.

Tom and Maggie are exceptional executives who have extensive roots in the U.S. creative community and strong relationships with American broadcasters that will allow us to expand our opportunities in the market.”

Mazza most recently served as exec VP and head of worldwide TV at Cookie Jar Ent. Before co-founding Madison Road Ent. in 2003, he was prexy of Columbia TriStar’s network television division, and spent 12 years at Paramount’s network TV, helming primetime TV development as exec VP.

Murphy previously worked alongside Mazza at Cookie Jar as senior VP of development. Prior to that, she served as prexy of Kiefer Sutherland’s Eastside Ent., senior VP of drama development for UPN, and creative affairs director for David E. Kelley Prods.

Shaftesbury’s most recent productions include three seasons of “The Listener” (CTV, Fox International Channels), five of “Murdoch Mysteries” (Citytv, UKTV, ITV Studios Global Ent.), Ken Finkleman’s “Good Dog” (HBO Canada), and an array of kids and family series, including “Life with Derek.”

Shaftesbury’s other Canadian divisions include Shaftesbury Factual, Smokebomb Ent. (original online series and web extensions of Shaftesbury’s TV slate) and a division handling international sales and distribution for the production company’s content.