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Annie Wegelius dies aged 58

Annie Wegelius, former programme director at Swedish public broadcaster SVT and pioneer of reality TV formats, has passed away after a long battle with cancer.

Annie Wegelius

Wegelius, who had a career in television spanning four decades, was programme director at SVT from 2007 to 2013.

Prior to that she had been an entrepreneurial part of the TV and media industry, helping develop the format exchange network in the 1990s and forming part of the founding team at Scandinavia’s first commercial broadcaster TV3, where she was the channel’s first programme director.

The prodco she founded, Wegelius TV, grew into one of the leading indies in the Nordic region and came up with formats such as Big Class Reunion and Friends Forever. She created e-learning firm Kworld, which operated the first privately owned digital terrestrial broadcast channel in Sweden.

SVT’s current MD Hanna Stjärne said: “SVT is in mourning today. Annie Wegelius brought colour, power and warmth to everyone she met.

“Annie had a natural gift for TV production, and she showed great courage when she led a historical shift at SVT. She wanted, in her own words, ‘to burl the public service cardigan’ and injected energy, creativity and greatness, not only in SVT but in the Swedish TV industry as a whole.

“Without Annie, Swedish TV would have been wet and miserable – even outside of Nordic Noir.

“Annie always saw the audience in her mind. Her sense of direction and implicit understanding of what the viewers wanted were so obvious she even gave them what they did not know they wanted.

“The sense of loss of a friend is felt deeply, at SVT, in the Swedish TV industry and among colleagues around the world.”

Markus Sterky, the pubcaster’s content strategist, added: “Annie was not your usual public service person, and that is perhaps why she was so good at it. Her natural entrepreneurial talent combined with curiosity meant you never knew what would happen next, but her energy and passion helped you believe, and made you want to help her achieve the goal.”

Wegelius received the International Formats Gold Award at MipFormats in Cannes in 2015 for her services to the formats business.

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