NBCUniversal-Owned U.K. Producer of 'Downton Abbey' Hires Deborah Oppenheimer to Help With Expansion

"Downton Abbey"

At NBCUniversal International Television Production, she has already overseen the U.S. success of the Carnival Films costume drama.

LONDON – NBCUniversal's NBCUniversal International Television Production unit said Wednesday that it has appointed Deborah Oppenheimer to the new post of executive vp of Carnival Films, the U.K. production firm behind hit costume drama Downton Abbey, whose U.S. success she has overseen. 

She takes on the post "to give the company a dedicated full-time presence in Los Angeles as the company seeks to consolidate on its enormous success and expand further into the U.S. and international market," the firm said.
Oppenheimer will report to Carnival managing director Gareth Neame.

Over the past three years, she has led the L.A. operations for NBCU International Television Production and worked across all its labels, including Carnival, whose output also includes Dracula, Matchbox Pictures (Camp) and Lucky Giant (Family Tree).

Among her other work, Oppenheimer was responsible for, and executive produced, the HBO and BBC Two co-production Family Tree from director Christopher Guest.

In her new role, Oppenheimer will be responsible for launching new scripted series for Carnival and continuing to oversee Downton Abbey in the U.S. "She will be pivotal in driving the company’s domestic and international growth strategy," the firm said.

Said Michael Edelstein, president of NBCUniversal International Television Production: “Deborah is a highly gifted executive, and I am very pleased that this move puts her at the heart of leading Carnival’s growth - a key priority for the company."
Said Neame: "Deborah has been instrumental in Carnival’s success in the U.S. to date. With Deb's instincts and tenacity we hope to build strongly on that success in the years ahead."
And Oppenheimer said: "I've been fortunate to work with such an incredibly talented group of people in Carnival. I'm proud of our accomplishments together and feel terrifically excited about our future growth in the U.S.”
Downton Abbey, which airs in the U.S. on PBS and in the U.K. on ITV, has been sold into more than 200 territories worldwide.

E-mail: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai