Head of Comedy quits ABC

By David Knox on December 3, 2012 / Filed Under News 3

Debbie Lee, ABC TV’s Head of Comedy, has resigned to take up a new position with an Australian independent production company.

Lee has been with ABC for five years following her term with SBS, overseeing a slate that included A Moody Christmas, Angry Boys, At Home with Julia, Lowdown, Laid, Woodley, Lowdown, Outland, The Librarians, and The Strange Calls.

Kim Dalton, Director of ABC TV, said: “Debbie has done an outstanding job, bringing new talent and programming to ABC TV. Her ability and experience at nurturing talent through the creative and production processes has been invaluable. I wish her every success in her new position.”

Lee added: “It’s been an incredible opportunity to work at ABC TV for the past five years and to work with so many brilliantly creative comedy teams and talent. I’d like to thank all of my wonderful colleagues, within the ABC and outside of it, for making it such a rewarding and enormously fun experience.”

Lee will work on her existing slate of production until she leaves on December 13th.

Carole Sklan, the Head of Fiction, has resumed direct responsibility for the future development and commissioning of ABC TV’s comedy slate until the appointment of a new Head of Comedy.

Updated: Debbie Lee is joining Matchbox Pictures in the newly created role of Director, Scripted Development.

Chris Oliver-Taylor, Managing Director, Matchbox Pictures said, “Debbie is one of the most gifted, creative people in the industry. She brings vast experience in scripted content and will allow Matchbox Pictures to continue to deliver the highest quality scripted productions to audiences in Australia and internationally. On behalf of the founders of Matchbox, we are thrilled to have Debbie join us at what is a very exciting time for Matchbox Pictures”.

Debbie Lee said, “I’ve had a truly wonderful time working in broadcasting for many years and now it’s time to take up a new challenge. I can’t think of a better place to be doing that than at Matchbox Pictures, with a dynamic team who are focussed on creating exciting and compelling stories for the screen”.

Debbie will work closely with the founding partners of Matchbox Pictures, Producers, Penny Chapman, Tony Ayres and Helen Bowden, Head of Production, Helen Panckhurst and Commercial Director, Michael McMahon in her new role. She will report to Chris Oliver-Taylor and will begin in the role in February 2013.

3 Comments »

  1. michael December 3, 2012 at 1:06 pm -

    She’ll be sadly missed. Loved Lowdown – funniest Oz comedy in a long time.

  2. Ronnie December 3, 2012 at 11:40 am -

    Great news all around. It is very important the ABC reinvigorates its own commissioning teams and these people should move between the ABC/SBS and the independent production sector with whom they work more often. It’s always the best people who manage to do this.

  3. dshan December 3, 2012 at 10:58 am -

    I wish her well. ‘A Moody Christmas’ is that rarest of all TV shows — a really good Australian sitcom. Funny, intelligent, well acted. There have been very few sitcoms like this from Australia over the last half century, it’s great to see one now. Finally, an Australian show that can rub shoulders with programs like Seinfeld, Extras, etc. and not get ejected for crashing the party.

    Lowdown, although it did improve a bit, has sadly not lived up to it’s promise. Ditto with a star for ‘The Strange Calls’, which is looking increasingly like another turkey (another Librarians) — a good idea ruined by poor production, silly & unfunny scripts and hammy overacting.

    ‘At Home With Julia’ was probably the only other sitcom on the ABC that had any real appeal. Had some very funny moments and not too much cringe-inducing nonsense.

    What about ‘Angry Boys’ you ask? Well it’s problem is that it’s another look-alike show from a very talented man of apparently limited range and imagination — ‘We Can Be Heroes’ was wonderfully original and funny, but by the time we saw exactly the same stuff in ‘Summer Heights High’ and then ‘Angry Boys’ it had all gotten a little boring.

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