Andrew Denton steps back from his production company

Andrew DentonOne of the ABC’s most celebrated program makers appears to have quietly left the company he co-founded.

Andrew Denton is currently officially on a sabbatical from Australia’s largest independent production house, Cordell Jigsaw Zapruder, but looks unlikely to return. CJZ was formed by the merger of Cordell Jigsaw and Denton’s Zapruder’s Other Films.

In a video interview with Encore to talk about new consumer show The Checkout, Cordell Jigsaw co-founder Nick Murray was asked whether Denton would return. He answered: “He’s a director of the company.” Asked the same question a second time, he said: “I don’t know, hopefully. We’ll see.”

An extended SMS text exchange with Denton also saw him decline the opportunity to say he would return. He responded: “Nothing to report I’m afraid. You are correct that I’m on sabbatical. That’s about it.”

He then added cryptically: “Or, to put it more colourfully, as former Labor/Hawke/Packer power broker Peter Barron once said to me: ‘Mate, I’m just lying in the long grass waiting for something to happen’.”

Denton’s former colleague at Zapruder, Anita Jacoby, left at the time of the merger, meaning there are few remnants of the original Zapruder’s Other Films team working in senior roles at the new operation.

One of Zapruder’s Other Films’ greatest successes has been The Gruen Transfer, which along with spinoffs Gruen Planet and Gruen Nation, has been one of ABC1’s most-watched shows in recent years. Those involved in the creation of the adland-focused show included Denton, Jacoby and Jon Casimir.

Denton also previously created and presented interview series Enough Rope, along with the less well-received word show Randling.

CJZ’s extensive slate also includes Bondi Rescue, Country Town Rescue, Megatruckers, Go Back To Where You Came From and Can Of Worms. Michael Cordell, who leads the merged CJZ, took a similar line to Murray. “He is on a sabbatical but he is very much involved with the company,” Cordell said from a production shoot in Tasmania.

“He is having an incredibly well-deserved break. If anything changes, we’ll let you know. But nothing has now.”

Encore also asked Denton whether he would be interested in the vacant role as director of television at the ABC. “As the kids would say – LOL,” Denton texted.

Tim Burrowes and Marcus Casey

Encore issue 8This story first appeared in the weekly edition of Encore available for iPad and Android tablets. Visit for a preview of the app or click below to download.


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