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Writer returns to run Shortland Street

South Pacific Pictures has appointed Maxine Fleming as Shortland Street Producer. She’ll replace Simon Bennett, who finishes today (17 February).

Fleming has more than two decades of experience as a writer, script and story editor. She has a long history with Shortland Street and has worked with the show in several different guises, at various stages in her career, since the show’s conception in the early 1990’s. Most recently, she worked as Senior Story Editor, managing the team that wrote the 2015 cliffhanger and 2016 return storylines.

As a show creator her most recent drama series, 800 Words, co-created with James Griffin, has become a top-rating hit for Channel Seven in Australia. A second series is currently in production.

Other series Maxine has devised and written include the comedy-dramas Agent Anna, which earned her a SWANZ award for best comedy, Burying Brian and award-winning teen drama Being Eve.

“South Pacific Pictures is extremely pleased to have Maxine on board, bringing her extensive writing experience back to Shortland Street,” said Kelly Martin, South Pacific Pictures CEO.

Departing Producer Bennett is leaving Shortland Street to return to directing. He’s served as Shortland Street Producer since 2012, recently overseeing the massive ratings successes of the 2015 Christmas cliffhanger and 2016 return episode, which took out the number one position in all demographics.

“As Producer of Shortland Street, Simon has overseen a hugely successful period of time for the show, tackling some major storylines that have made a massive impact on the show’s audience,” said Martin. “Under Simon’s stewardship, Shortland Street has consistently rated in the top five programmes in TV2’s 18 to 49 demographic.

“Simon has been a key part of Shortland Street’s many years of success for TV2. He has played a pivotal role as a Director, Producer and Executive Producer for over 20 years and after three years in the Producer’s chair, he leaves the show in excellent shape as he hands over to incoming Producer Maxine Fleming.”

Fleming has worked closely with the Shortland Street team over the last couple of months to ensure a smooth transition and continuity for the production. Bennett’s last day in the building is today (17 February).

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