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Michael Carrington to exit ABC Australia after six years to return to production

Industry veteran Michael Carrington will leave his role as director of entertainment and specialist at ABC in Australia next month to return to the production sector.

Michael Carrington

Carrington joined the Australian public broadcaster in 2016, initially as head of children’s and education before taking on numerous other roles at the corporation.

Among the shows Carrington commissioned during his time at the ABC are Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds, Fisk, The Newsreader and the hit animated series Bluey.

The ABC also pointed to the exec’s leadership in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, which saw the launch of the A$5m (US$3.5m) Fresh Start Fund, as a key achievement of his time at the Aussie pubcaster. The fund supported more than 200 Australian productions and new content ideas.

Carrington was the key driving force behind the 2021 release of the ABC Diversity and Inclusion Commissioning Guidelines, which aim to ensure more diverse faces, voices, cultures and stories are reflected and represented on screen down under.

The ABC said the existing leadership team, which will report to Jennifer Collins as acting director entertainment and specialist during the transition period, will continue to drive entertainment and specialist content development, commissioning and distribution forward.

Carrington’s next role is not yet known.

The exec, who began his TV career in the children’s department of Network Ten in Australia in the 1980s, relocated from Paris and London to Sydney to take the job at the ABC in 2016, having previously been CEO of Zodiak Kids Studios.

Carrington joined Zodiak Kids in 2014 to oversee its European production business, having previously worked for Hit Entertainment and before that Turner, where he exec produced series such as The Amazing World of Gumball.

As controller of UK preschool channel CBeebies between 2006 and 2010, Carrington commissioned acclaimed programmes including In the Night Garden, LazyTown and Charlie & Lola. He has also held roles at Lego Media, Discovery Communications and Amazon Films during his career.

Announcing the departure, ABC managing director David Anderson congratulated Carrington on his achievements during his time at the ABC.

“Michael is a thoughtful, inclusive and creative leader, and the impact of his decisions can be seen in the vibrant range of programmes the ABC has delivered to audiences under his guidance,” Anderson said.

“Many of those decisions were made in response to the Covid pandemic and Michael showed great leadership during this time. Michael is highly regarded and I know everyone at the ABC wishes him well with the next step in his already dynamic career.”

Carrington said: “We have built a strong foundation to connect with and build new audiences, including strengthening our creative teams, aligning our linear and digital platforms, evolving ABC iview, improving our operations and, most importantly, launching a long list of new and compelling Australian content.

“In 2020, the ABC announced a five-year plan to transform from a traditional broadcaster to the nation’s most trusted and valued digital content provider across all platforms. That plan is on track – I am proud of the contribution the whole team in entertainment and specialist has made and I thank them for their dedication.

“I also owe a huge thank you to the world-class independent producers, writers and performers I’ve had the privilege to work with over the years. The ABC will always be an inspiration to me and I am grateful to have had this experience.”


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