Seven Studios promotes Therese Hegarty, hires Andrew Backwell

Therese Hegarty

Seven Studios has promoted Therese Hegarty to CEO and hired former Nine Network executive Andrew Backwell as director of production, responsible for non-scripted content.

As part of the reshuffle head of content sales Richard Henson moves up to director of content sales.

Formerly director, content distribution and rights, Hegarty’s promotion is a reward for the production division’s expansion, this year delivering the seventh consecutive growth in earnings before interest and tax.

Australia’s largest producer of long form premium content, Seven Studios last year produced more than 1,000 hours of content all genres, with 14 new commissions and more than 20 hit series returning or in production.

In the second half of last year, the division’s revenues from third-party sales (ie, excluding commissions from the Seven Network) jumped by 20 per cent to $45.7 million.

In March Seven launched non-scripted unit Seven Studios UK, strengthening its presence in that market and complementing its investment in London-based scripted specialists Slim Film + Television.

Slim recently landed its biggest ever commission, an adaptation of Around The World in 80 Days, an 8-hour re-imagining of Jules Verne’s 1873 novel, partnering with France Télévisions, ZDF Germany and Italy’s RAI.

Seven Studios’ latest drama Between Two Worlds, created by Bevan Lee and starring Cold Feet’s Hermione Norris, Philip Quast, Aaron Jeffrey, Megan Hajjar and Alex Cubis, is in production.

Seven West Media CEO Tim Worner said: “The Seven Studios story is a truly remarkable one. Our productions are now seen in over 190 countries worldwide across myriad local broadcasters, and are proving wildly popular on global streaming platforms.

“But we are only scratching the surface of Seven Studios’ potential. To build on our strong growth trajectory, we are investing in both our team and our production slate.

“I’m delighted to announce Therese as Seven Studios’ chief executive. She has led the evolution of the company into a truly global player, expanding our international production footprint to London, Los Angeles and Auckland and ensuring our local hubs in Sydney and Melbourne go from strength to strength.

“Therese is putting together a world-class team. The promotions of Andrew and Richard, together with the recent announcements of Damon Pattison as leader of Seven Studios UK and Simon Shalgosky as head of global development, put us in the best position to profit from the unrelenting global demand for premium long form entertainment.”

Backwell, who had been consulting for Seven Studios since last October, previously consulted for Sony’s Playmaker Media and New Zealand’s MediaWorks. He spent 13 years at Nine, most notably as MD, programming and production.

Hegarty began her career at George Patterson Advertising before moving into TV production. Before joining the Seven Network in 2012 she was VP production for Beyond International, where she managed operational and business affairs across its US and Australian production business.

Henson joined Seven Studios in August 2015 to manage the sales and distribution of Seven’s catalogue of content rights. Before that he was APAC regional director, program sales and consumer products for Discovery Networks International.