X Factor producer hit by double exit as NBC, Lee & Thompson take legal heads

Media firm Lee & Thompson has poached FremantleMedia’s head of legal for drama and scripted comedy weeks after the business lost its overall legal chief to NBC Universal. 

Jacqueline Moreton
Jacqueline Moreton

Jacqueline Moreton has already started her new role at NBC Universal, taking on the title of senior vice president for business development. Her replacement is yet to be decided by chief operations officer Sara Geater, who Moreton has reported to since joining in 2008 (14 April 2008). 

Meanwhile, Fremantle’s head of legal for drama and scripted comedy Mary Burrows is to join Lee & Thompson’s film and TV group as a partner on Monday (11 November), starting her new role with Davenport Lyons film and TV finance partner Sam Tatto-Brown.

Burrows had been with Fremantle for 13 years, managing legal issues for one of the four labels which the company is split into, scripted comedy, having previously advised on factual programming. An internal replacement is understood to have been announced.

As head of legal and business affairs for the business Moreton was in charge of its 18-lawyer legal capability. In an interview with The Lawyer last year she said that litigation cases were rare, with this type of work tending to get outsourced. 

“We’re focused on the productions and litigation’s a specialist area, so we tend to go to outside counsel when we have a case,” she explained (28 May 2012). 

In 2010 a disability discrimination claim brought by Britain’s Got Talent contestant Emma Czikai against Simon Cowell and Fremantle saw the company ­retain DLA Piper, which instructed Matrix Chambers

Other firms used by the business have included Reed Smith, SJ Berwin and Wiggin

Fremantle did not provide a comment.