Andrew Denton confirms departure from CJZ – and television

denton_andrewThree months after it emerged that Andrew Denton had quietly stepped back from the independent production house he helped found, the co-creator of The Gruen Transfer has confirmed his departure from television.

Denton’s Zapruder’s Other Films merged with Cordell Jigsaw to form CJZ about 18 months ago.

In March, Mumbrella’s sister title Encore broke news of his exit, which CJZ declined to confirm at the time.

Denton is one of Australia’s most respected broadcasting talents, having been a success as a radio presenter, TV presenter through his interview show Enough Rope, mentor of The Chaser and co-creator of The Gruen Transfer and Gruen Planet which is the ABC’s most popular TV show.

Today CJZ issued the following statement:

Cordell Jigsaw Zapruder (CJZ) today announced the formal departure of Andrew Denton from the company. Cordell Jigsaw and Zapruder’s Other Films merged eighteen months ago bringing together two of Australia’s most eclectic and successful production companies.

After seeing the two companies successfully merge, Andrew has made a personal decision to move on from his television career and pursue other creative interests. He leaves CJZ with over a dozen shows on the production slate and an exciting range of content across most networks.

“When I started Zapruder’s Other Films 13 years ago, I never imagined I’d be leaving it as CJZ, Australia’s most active, locally-owned, independent production company,” said Denton. “In that spirit of delighted astonishment, I am selling my share of the company to Nick Murray and Michael Cordell and moving on to stir my creative juices outside of television, leaving behind something of which I am immensely proud.

“Having worked with Nick and Michael over the last year, and seen the two teams come together, I’m excited for the company’s future as a place for creative people to continue to flourish. The CJZ production slate will deliver some great television in coming years and they will always be the first port of call if television beckons again.”

CJZ retains a first look deal with Andrew in the event he decides to move back into television.

Michael Cordell described Denton as one of Australia’s great creative spirits. “We’re sad to see Andrew go but his DNA will always remain embedded in CJZ. The proof of that will be a roll-out of great shows that take risks, excite and make a difference.”

Nick Murray says: “Andrew assembled a great team at ZOF and they are a key part of the merged CJZ team. The goal with the merger was to create a company greater than the sum of its parts and that’s proved the case.”

Since its establishment, Zapruder’s produced an enviable slate of original Australian developed and produced shows. Andrew reinvented TV interviewing with Enough Rope and Elders, helped Australia look at advertising and marketing in a new light with The Gruen Transfer/Planet, brought The Chaser to our screens with CNNNN and Election Chaser and mentored an enduring team of new talent with 3 series of Hungry Beast.

Says Denton: “The measures of success in our industry are ratings and awards and we have racked up our share of both. I take great pleasure from the fact that, every year of the last ten, Zapruders has supplied among the most-watched, locally made, programs on the ABC.

“My measure of success, however, is not something that can be as easily seen from the outside. To watch talented people grow under the Zapruder banner has been a reward that outstrips the more public ones.

“In an industry that can be brutal, I consider it an achievement to have provided a nurturing environment for good people and ideas. It’s great to know that tradition continues at CJZ”

The 2012 merger with Cordell Jigsaw saw CJZ become the most active independent creator of original formats and content in Australia. Just last week the company announced the production of Wanted, a new prime-time format with the Ten Network. Shitsville Express will soon begin screening on ABC2 and the federal election incarnation of the Gruen franchise, Gruen Nation starts soon on ABC1.

“It’s been a full-on 13 years,” said Andrew. “For the next little while at least, I am going to try my hand at being Australia’s most unlikely, least-laid-back, hippie.”

“We’ve installed web cams throughout his house and will monitor his every move with interest,” says Cordell. “Maybe there’s even a show in it.”

Murray just breathed a sigh of relief as the Denton imposed fatwah on Earl Grey tea rides into the sunset.


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