NBCU taps Denise O'Donoghue for int'l growth

Named president, international television productions

LONDON -- NBC Universal has wooed former Hat Trick co-founder and chief executive and founder of U.K. indie 12 Yard Denise O'Donoghue, to the post of president, international television productions at NBC Universal International, NBCU International president Pete Smith said Thursday.

O'Donoghue, widely regarded as one of the most creative and commercially savvy U.K. media executives – who, alongside Hat Trick's Jimmy Mulville was behind such shows as "The Kumars at No.42" and "Have I Got News For You?" -- will focus on "shortening the format pipeline" between the U.K. and U.S., NBC executives said.

As head of the international production division, O'Donoghue will lead television productions and drive strategic TV content partnerships across all territories outside the U.S., and will spearhead NBC Universal's international growth through local production.

She will also take responsibility for expanding NBC Universal's international format licensing business, the division that recently brokered a second season of "Law & Order U.K." with ITV and Kudos in the U.K., following localized versions of "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" and "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" in France and Russia.

O'Donoghue takes up the post Sept. 14, effectively replacing NBCU's former international production head Angela Bromstad, who moved back to LA as president, NBC primetime Entertainment, earlier this year.

NBC's Smith said the role was "a crucial part of NBC Universal's ongoing international growth plans."

NBC has set itself the target of doubling non-U.S. revenues to $5 billion by the end of 2010, chiefly through local TV and film production, expanding pay TV channels and growth in key overseas markets.

Smith said O'Donoghue "possesses that rare combination of creative excellence and sharp business acumen," resulting in "some of the most defining television programming of the last two decades in the U.K."