Hat Trick's Denise O'Donoghue Tapped to Lead ITV Studios U.K.

11:53 AM PST 11/18/2010 by Mimi Turner

LONDON -- After signaling that ITV’s domestic production business was “in need of creative renewal” earlier in the week, ITV boss Adam Crozier has handpicked former Hat Trick co-founder Denise O’Donoghue to transform its London-based production businesses.

O’Donoghue, who was briefly NBC Universal head of international production and who launched 12 Yard, the indie later acquired by ITV, will become managing director of ITV Studios U.K., with a brief to shake-up the domestic production businesses.

Her main task will be to up the amount of ITV-produced entertainment and drama fare on the main ITV1 network. The division has lost ground to outside producers for key primetime commissions in recent years.

Aside from the stalwarts of long-running soaps like Coronation Street and Emmerdale, ITV’s biggest recent hits Downton Abbey, Whitechapel, Law & Order U.K. have all come from external producers Carnival Films and Kudos, while ITV’s biggest entertainment shows The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent come from Syco and Fremantle.

In the newly created role, O'Donoghue will report to Kevin Lygo, ITV Studios managing director and take full operational responsibility for production management, rights management and business affairs. She will also work closely with the creative teams to fully exploit new opportunities.

“A key part of our five year strategy is to build a stronger content business and to develop the relationship between ITV Studios and our broadcast business," Crozier said. "Denise has a fantastic track record as an entrepreneur, creating great content and commercial value. She and Kevin Lygo will make a formidable team.”

On Tuesday, Crozier revealed that despite an 11% overall revenue hike to $2.4 billion for the broadcaster in the first 9 months of the year, ITV Studios’ external revenues were down 10% over the period to £205 million ($328 million).

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