RTÉ appoints Acorn chief as group head of drama and comedy

Broadcaster hires London-based executive Shane Murphy for newly-created role

RTÉ’s new group head of drama and comedy Shane Murphy, who will take up the role in August.

RTÉ’s new group head of drama and comedy Shane Murphy, who will take up the role in August.

 

RTÉ has appointed Shane Murphy, the managing director of London-based Acorn Media Enterprises, as its group head of drama and comedy.

The Dubliner was appointed to the newly-created role following a lengthy public competition, after signalling last August that it would combine the roles of head of drama and head of comedy.

Mr Murphy’s international experience is understood to have been the key factor in his appointment, as RTÉ is increasingly seeking to enter co-production arrangements on drama and scripted comedy rather than shoulder the costs and risks alone. He will return to Dublin to take up the role from August.

In recent years, television drama at RTÉ has been overseen by Jane Gogan, while Eddie Doyle was RTÉ Television’s head of comedy until his recent departure to become head of content production at BBC Northern Ireland.

RTÉ said Ms Gogan would remain as head of TV drama, developing and commissioning drama series and overseeing soap opera Fair City.

Mr Murphy has more than 25 years’ experience across various aspects of drama and comedy, including development, commissioning, co-production, distribution and broadcasting, in Europe, the United States and the Middle East.

He has led Acorn Media Enterprises, owned by US group RLJ Entertainment, since 2015. The company recently joined RTÉ and Treasure Entertainment as a co-producer on Amy Huberman’s new television series Finding Joy, which began shooting in Dublin last month.

Mr Murphy previously worked for FremantleMedia Enterprises, Tiger Aspect Productions, Tara TV, Discovery Networks Europe, Carlton, Granada International and Agatha Christie Ltd, which is majority owned by RLJ.

Youth audience

RTÉ said Mr Murphy would be responsible for developing and delivering drama and scripted comedy across RTÉ’s platforms – meaning radio and online as well as television. He will have a particular focus on “growing youth audiences” and “the development of Irish writing, performing and production talent”, working with the Irish independent production sector.

“While I’m genuinely sad to be leaving the uniquely creative and dynamic Acorn Media, I could not turn down the opportunity to work across scripted shows in my native public service broadcaster,” Mr Murphy said.

RTÉ director of content Jim Jennings said he would bring “a wealth of knowledge of all aspects of production along with extensive international experience”.