Latest figures for O Briain's company give comedian little to laugh about
THERE was no happy ending for comedian Dara O Briain's Irish-based entertainment company over the past two years, with new figures showing that the firm incurred hefty losses over the period.
The Wicklow-born entertainer is one of the most popular comedians in the UK, currently attracting millions of viewers every week with the BBC's 'The Apprentice – You're Fired'.
However, as O Briain's profile has soared in the UK, allowing the comedian to amass large personal earnings over the past number of years, the fortunes of his Irish production firm, Happy Endings Productions, have waned considerably.
O Briain established the firm in 2003 with renowned editor and producer, Seamus Cassidy, and new accounts filed with the Companies Office show that the firm recorded a loss of €120,480 in 2011 and further unspecified losses in 2012.
The firm – which specialises in entertainment, comedy and lifestyle programming – had an excess of liabilities over assets of €113,358 at the end of 2011 and a note attached to the accounts states that "this situation has arisen as a consequence of a drop in income without a proportionate drop in costs".
The note states that the directors, Mr O Briain and Mr Cassidy, "are disappointed with the performance of the company for the year".
The note adds: "Despite further losses incurred during the year ended December 2012, the directors are hopeful that 2013 will return the company to profitability through the generation of income from the sale of format fees."
Mr Cassidy worked as senior commissioning editor at Channel 4 for more than 10 years and commissioned shows such as 'Father Ted', 'Don't Forget Your Toothbrush', 'Brass Eye' and 'Whose Line Is It Anyway?'.
The firm has produced more than 100 hours of TV programming including 'The Panel' and RTE's decision to axe the show in 2011 coincided with the downturn in the firm's fortunes.
The firm also produced two series of 'Saturday Night With Miriam', fronted by RTE's Miriam O'Callaghan. It is currently producing a second series of 'Dirty Old Towns' with celebrity gardener, Diarmuid Gavin.
Mr Cassidy – who owns the entire share capital of the company – was yesterday unavailable for comment, as he was away on a shoot for a pilot show.