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Claudia Rosencrantz is an English journalist, and former Controller of Entertainment for ITV for over ten years. She was responsible for commissioning some of ITV's biggest hits and changing the landscape of entertainment programming in the UK. She was also Director of Television for Virgin Media for five years.
In December 2005, ITV's Director of Television Simon Shaps testified to Rosencrantz's influence in saying that she "has been responsible for some of the biggest entertainment hits in ITV's history. It's no exaggeration to say that the US networks have watched and waited to see what Claudia has commissioned".
Rosencrantz started her career in Fleet Street in 1979, where she worked first as a picture editor and then as a journalist on various publications, including The Telegraph Sunday Magazine, Sunday magazine and Elle, before starting her career as a television producer in 1986.
Her production credits include executive producer of Don't Forget Your Toothbrush, working with Elton John to produce Tantrums and Tiaras, the drama Prisoners In Time (starring John Hurt, based on Eric Lomax's book The Railway Man) for the BBC. She also worked with Barry Humphries on Dame Edna Everage's shows as producer for ten years, including winning the Golden Rose of Montreux in 1991. She was one of the first UK producers to cross the Atlantic, to produce the Dame Edna specials for the US networks.
Rosencrantz joined the ITV Network in 1995 with responsibility for commissioning around 500 hours of prime-time entertainment programming a year, encompassing variety and talk shows, music specials and game shows. Her first major breakthrough hits were Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, Popstars and Pop Idol, which changed the fortunes not only of ITV but of two of the biggest U.S. networks, ABC and Fox. Her next generation of entertainment events, I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!, Hell's Kitchen, The X Factor and Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway remain some of ITV's highest rated shows. She is credited with moving presenters Ant & Dec from children's television to primetime entertainment double act, and for putting Simon Cowell on screen.
Rosencrantz was also responsible for running ITV's entertainment talent roster, some of whose careers she launched – a list that included Ant & Dec, Chris Tarrant, Michael Parkinson, Sharon Osbourne, Lily Savage, Paul O'Grady, Gordon Ramsay, Davina McCall, Simon Cowell and Harry Hill. Before her departure at the end of 2005, she had also commissioned Soapstar Superstar, Dancing on Ice, Harry Hill's TV Burp and Britain's Got Talent which have all proved highly successful for ITV. In the official UK top ten most watched TV shows of the last decade, four of the entries are Rosencrantz's commissions.
In April 2006 she was appointed director of programming for Living TV, which she re-branded as LIVING, LIVING 2 and ftn. In 2007 she became Director of Television for Virgin Media Television taking over responsibility for the creative strategy for all the channels across the entire portfolio, including LIVING, Bravo, Challenge and Trouble. She launched Virgin 1 in October 2007 and re-positioned Bravo in 2009. She became part of the management team that ran the company.
When Rosencrantz joined Living TV the channel had already broadcast Jade's Salon, featuring Big Brother 3 contestant Jade Goody, and was in production with a second series, Just Jade, following Goody as she launched her perfume. Then in the autumn of 2006 came Jade's PA.
By early 2008 Rosencrantz wanted her back on the channel for a one-off special, Living With ... Jade, hoping for a series.
During filming Goody was often doubled up with pain. She had hospital tests, then went off to do Bigg Boss, the Indian version of Big Brother, with Shetty in August 2008. She heard the diagnosis, cervical cancer, on screen.
Living filmed Goody just before she underwent a hysterectomy the following month and planned a series. But the prognosis when she came out was grim, a 10% chance of survival.
"Yes, it was uncomfortable to watch. She was asking people to face their own mortality. It's our biggest fear, but unavoidable, and she has shone a torch into one of the last taboos in our society. She had the courage to make death part of life." Rosencrantz is quoted as saying.
The series of documentaries broadcast leading up to Jade's Wedding, transmitted on 12 March, brought the highest ratings in Livings history.
In 2009 the vmtv portfolio enjoyed its most successful year in its history, and Living was in rude health commercially and creatively, with breakout hits Four Weddings, Dating in the Dark and Living With My Idol featuring celebrities including Pamela Anderson and David Hasselhoff.
"Can LIVING send me over a rare faberge egg and a truffle in the morning to say thanks for how many people I've forced to watch Four Weddings."
In 2010 LIVING picked up the RTS Award for its breakout hit Dating in the Dark. It also won the Broadcast Award for Four Weddings. Living also managed to persuade super model Elle Macpherson to take over as host on the channels Britain's Next Top Model
In 2010 Virgin Media concluded a very long sale process by seeling the portfolio of Virgin channels to Sky for £160,000,000. The Hollywood Reporter Maggie Brown of the Guardian broke the story that Rosencrantz had decided to leave post-integration of the channels as she felt there was no suitable role for her in the new structure at Sky. On Rosencrantz's departure Virgin Chief Executive was quoted in Media Week as saying:
"Claudia is the real deal. She's made Living a glossy, premium destination for A-list talent and true breakout hits. She has the courage and critical eye to back an original idea, combined with the clarity and drive to create real commercial success. Claudia has transformed the channels, and has done so with her trademark package of unerring grace and wicked wit."
- Smith, Alistair (2005-12-23). "Rosencrantz quits ITV". The Stage. Retrieved 2006-08-25.