Mere days after Danny Cohen announced he was exiting the BBC, another major UK broadcaster is losing their top TV exec. Stuart Murphy has announced plans to exit his post as Sky’s Director of Entertainment Channels, a role he has held since 2012.
Much like Cohen, Murphy decided to exit his role in order to “pursue other creative opportunities”. The well respected executive will be staying in the Sky family as he has inked a deal to write and produce scripted projects for Sky Vision. “I’m delighted to have signed a production commitment with Sky Vision to write and develop comedy and drama projects, as this has been a private passion of mine for years, but I’m also very excited about exploring opportunities outside of TV”, he said.
“My sadness at leaving a company I love is tempered by my immense pride in what we have achieved together. Sky is a company in rude health, bursting with ideas, creativity, and sheer fun and I leave the department in the hands of colleagues I love and admire”, Murphy continued. “For 14 of the past 17 years I have been running TV channels, including a fantastic six and a half years with Sky. TV has been a huge part of my life but with our entertainment in great shape now feels the ideal time to have a think about what else I want to do”.
Stuart Murphy, who was the inaugural Controller of BBC Three, joined Sky in 2009 as Director of Programmes for Sky1 and started the satcaster’s push into original commissions, with the most noteworthy being Strike Back, which wrapped its run earlier this year. After a successful couple of years, which included launching Sky Atlantic, he was promoted to Director of Entertainment Channels, giving him overall responsibility for Sky1, Sky Atlantic, Sky Living. Sky Arts, Pick and Challenge, as well as the Comedy, Drama, Factual and Entertainment commissioning teams.
Under his tenure over the past few years, Sky has been relatively aggressive in the commissioning space, greenlighting a slew of successful comedy and drama series such as You, Me & The Apocalypse, Moone Boy, The Tunnel, Stella, Trollied, Mount Pleasant and Doll & Em. The company also made more of a push into co-productions, pacting with Cinemax, NBC and Showtime to produce a wealth of content; and they also have a co-development deal with FX Networks to originate original comedy series to air on both side of the Atlantic. Another notable success is licensing Doll & Em to HBO in the U.S. – making it the first of Sky’s original series to sell to the premium cable network.
“Stuart has played an important part in the growth of Sky’s content over the past six years. I’d like to thank him for his creative leadership and everything he has done to build Sky’s entertainment channels. He’s been responsible for brilliant dramas from The Enfield Haunting to You, Me and the Apocalypse and stand out comedies including Moone Boy and Stella”, said Gary Davey, Sky’s Managing Director, Content. “He has developed compelling channel brands which our customers value and commissioned content they love. He leaves behind a strong and well-respected commissioning team who will take our content to even greater heights and we look forward to working with him in the future.”
“I’m hugely grateful to Sky for the incredible opportunities they have given me and feel privileged to have run a team responsible for buying and commissioning some of the world’s best shows – from Modern Family to Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, and An Idiot Abroad to The Last Panthers” added Stuart Murphy. “There are very few jobs that have such an amazing range, where one has the joy of working with such relentlessly curious people, and I have never taken any of that for granted. There are many people I would like to thank, but specifically I owe a lot to Jeremy Darroch, Andrew Griffith, Sophie Turner Laing, Gary Davey and Alice Bartley, all of whom have been a pleasure to work with. I’d like to thank everyone for a very special chapter in my life.”