ABC loses drama, children’s bosses

Two senior programming executives are leaving Australia’s pubcaster, the ABC.

Carole SklanHead of fiction Carole Sklan and head of children’s Deidre Brennan are both exiting the organisation.

Sklan’s departure at the end of February comes after six years running ABC Fiction, while Brennan is leaving “to pursue new opportunities within the international market”.

Deputy head of fiction Alastair McKinnon will replace Sklan on an interim basis, wile ABC’s channel manager, children Luka Skandle will take on Brennan’s duties while a replacement is found.

At the ABC, Sklan has commissioned dramas such as The Blake Mysteries, which the BBC acquired in 2013; ­ANZAC Girls; Rake, which was remade in the US; and The Code, which DCD Rights has shopped successfully around the world.

She is leaving to take “a break from the frantic world of script development and production”.

“It’s time for a change of pace for me, but I’ve so valued the opportunity to work for our national public broadcaster with a team of such talented, passionate and dedicated colleagues,” she said.

“We are incredibly sad to see Carole leave,” said ABC director of television Richard Finlayson. “She has helped create an outstanding body of work since 2009, and under her leadership the ABC Fiction team has supported the production of over 400 hours of Australian drama and comedy, and won countless awards.”

Brennan, meanwhile, joined the ABC from BBC Worldwide in August 2013 to replace Tim Brooke-Hunt, who left after six years in the hot seat.

“Although we will be sad to see her leave, Deirdre has built an incredibly strong ABC team in this important genre, preparing us for the competitive environment ahead with an impactful content slate that will roll out in years to come,” said Finlayson.

Their departures come as the ABC prepares for Google executive Michelle Guthrie to replace Mark Scott as managing director.

Scott has been quoted this week as saying the ABC could merge with multicultural pubcaster cousin SBS.

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