Andrew Denton has retired from the television industry, confirming his departure from the production company he founded in 1989 and used to launch a slew of TV hits including Enough Rope and The Gruen Transfer.

Denton’s decision puts an end to speculation that has been building since the radio and TV identity announced he was taking a ”sabbatical” from the company last year.

Denton’s company, Zapruder’s Other Films, and the production company Cordell Jigsaw merged 18 months ago.

The resulting entity, Cordell Jigsaw Zapruder (CJZ), is Australia’s largest locally owned production company. Its rivals – RTL’s FremantleMedia, Endemol’s Southern Star, ITV Studios and Shine – are all foreign-owned.

”When we shook hands and merged 18 months ago, it was on the understanding that I was keen to take a long break,” said Denton, 53. ”Now I’ve decided to make that a break from television altogether.

”I’m excited for the company’s future as a place for creative people to continue to flourish.”

Denton said that if he returns to television, ”[CJZ] will always be the first port of call”.

The announcement of Denton’s retirement will send shockwaves through the industry. Denton is regarded as one of the industry’s most innovative talents.

Denton said he is proud of what he leaves behind.

”The measures of success in our industry are ratings and awards and we have racked up our share of both,” he said. ”I take great pleasure from the fact that, every year of the last 10, Zapruder’s has supplied among the most-watched, locally made programs on the ABC.”

Denton said he took particular satisfaction from the new talent the company nurtured, including The Chaser team, the Hungry Beast team and the discovery of Todd Sampson and Russel Howcroft on The Gruen Transfer.

”Not to mention the many who have worked with us off-camera and whose stars have also risen,” Denton said.

Denton’s co-principals at CJZ, veteran producers Nick Murray and Michael Cordell, praised their former colleague as a rare talent in the television industry.

”The goal with the merger was to create a company greater than the sum of its parts and that’s proved to be the case,” Murray said.

Cordell said: ”We’re sad to see Andrew go but his DNA will always remain embedded in CJZ.”

The company’s current production slate includes Bondi Rescue, Go Back To Where You Came From, Gruen Planet, The Checkout, Dumb, Drunk and Racist and Can of Worms.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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