Monaghan to relinquish full-time role at Screentime

26 February, 2014 by Don Groves

Des Monaghan has decided to step down as executive chairman of the Screentime Group, producers of the Underbelly franchise, Janet King and Cloudstreet, at the end of May.

Bob Campbell, who co-founded Screentime with Monaghan 18 years ago, will run the company as managing director. The Banijay Group bought a majority stake in 2012.


Monaghan will continue his association with Screentime as a consultant and producer of several projects including the Batavia miniseries for Network Ten.

"It's been an extraordinary run, a fantastic 18 years," he told IF. "Television is a very tough game and it's getting tougher. The pressure on program directors is almost impossible with the total unpredictability and the fragmentation of audiences. 

"I have had the very great fortune of having Bob Campbell as my business partner. It is fair to say that the success of the company far exceeded our initial expectations."

When Banijay bought into Screentime Monaghan was offered a five-year contract. He turned that down and accepted a two-year deal  with the intention of then seguing into his new role as a consultant. He has a small residual interest in Banijay.

"I'm way past retirement age," he said.  "It's time. I want a measured lifestyle. As I said to the team yesterday I don't want to sit around the office like the ghost of Christmas past. I will come in as required."  He will also focus on developing dramas and non-fiction projects.

“Des and I have enjoyed the closest of professional and personal relationships since we set up Screentime, and I look forward to this continuing,” said Campbell. ”His contribution to the company has been immeasurable and the strong creative and development teams have benefitted, and will continue to benefit, from his energy, experience and judgment.”

Based on Peter FitzSimons’ book, Batavia will chronicle the sinking of a Dutch merchant ship off the coast of Western Australia in 1629, billed as a combination of sea-faring adventure, mutiny, ship-wreck, love, lust, sexual slavery, survival and retribution.

Shooting of the eight episodes will start later this year for airing in 2015. It's a co-production with Canada's Thunderbird.

Screentime has more than 40 production credits including six series of Underbelly, Popstars, four seasons of RBT, The Incredible Journey of Mary Bryant, Society Murders, Jessica, My Husband My Killer, A Model Daughter: The Killing of Caroline Byrne, Breakers, MDA, Crownies and Brothers In Arms.

Last year it produced Outback Coroner for Foxtel, the miniseries Janet King for ABC TV, Fat Tony & Co for the Nine Network and ANZAC Girls for ABC TV.  In post- production are the docus Taking On The Chocolate Frog for Studio and Flying Miners for ABC TV.