Michael Horrocks to depart Seven Studios

Michael Horrocks.

The staff exodus at Seven West Media’s Seven Studios continues with Michael Horrocks, the executive producer of comedy, confirming he is departing.

Horrocks, who has held the post for two years, created Fam Time, a narrative comedy about a dysfunctional blended family who are addicted to their screens.

Starring Michala Banas, Duncan Fellows and Benson Jack Anthony, the 6 x 30′ show is the Seven Network’s first original sitcom in more than 20 years, since Bullpitt!, and is yet to premiere.

Hayden Guppy directed the series scripted by Erica Harrison and Jack Yabsley and produced by Muffy Potter.

The downsizing at Seven Studios began with news that CEO Therese Hegarty would depart after eight years with the network.

Her role is being abolished and Seven’s director of production Andrew Backwell has taken charge of Seven Studios.

That was followed by the exits of Niki Hamilton, the executive producer of children’s TV for the past six and a half years, who joined Banijay-owned Screentime as executive producer; network casting director Georgina Harrop; and development executive Vanessa Oxlad.

Horrocks told IF: “I am seriously lucky to have had the opportunity to work with Therese Hegarty and the amazing Seven Studios team. Hard work, but so much fun. I’m proud of what we have achieved in the comedy space from a bit of a standing start.”

The exec, who spent 19 years as a producer/executive producer with the Seven Network until 2006, is figuring out his next career move. “The prospects are very exciting,” he added.

Before rejoining Seven he served as an executive producer at the Nine Network and development producer with Endemol Australia.

The thinning of the ranks at Seven Studios is part of cost-cutting initiatives at debt-laden Seven West Media orchestrated by CEO James Warburton.

In February, Warburton announced he had appointed investment bank Morgan Stanley to conduct a strategic review of Seven Studios after receiving a number of “partnership inquiries.”

Last month the Sydney Morning Herald reported that Beyond Productions, which co-owns LA-based 7Beyond, was negotiating to buy Seven Studios’ offshore businesses but that was dismissed by SWM and drew a no comment from Beyond.