Stargate suffered the loss of a loved and respected member of our extended family yesterday with the sudden passing of Nora O’Brien. Before becoming Vice President of Drama Programming for NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios, Nora was VP of Original Programming at SciFi Channel where, for several years, she oversaw the production of both Stargate: SG-1 and Stargate: Atlantis. She was intelligent, skilled, highly-focused and, above all, a genuinely kind and caring individual.
Back on January 22 of 2007, I dedicated a blog entry to the often exasperating process of taking script notes. I wrote: “Still, good notes will not only make the script better, but they will make you a better writer. Bad notes, on the other hand, only serve to frustrate and occasionally cause you to question the intelligence of the person delivering them. For instance, while I may not agree with all of their notes, I respect the people I work with enough to value their input because, more often than not, they’re right. The same can be said for SciFi’s Nora O’Brien who always bring a sharp perspective to every script. In this respect, I am spoiled.”
And working with Nora, we WERE spoiled because, at the end of the day, she wasn’t just a network representative giving us notes but someone whose passion for her work and devotion to the franchise made her an ally, supporter, and friend. She was our champion at Sci-Fi – ever-approachable; always willing to lend a sympathetic ear.
Almost two years ago, Nora left SciFi for a position with NBC. At the time, I wrote: “It turned out to be great news for Nora O’Brien who, on the heels of a well-deserved promotion, will be leaving SciFi for NBC where she will assume the duties of VP of Development. As many of you long-time readers of this blog know, I’m a big Nora fan. She’s a pleasure to work with – smart, savvy, creative, and, well, just one hell of a nice person on both a professional and personal level. [… ] And so, to be perfectly candid, while I’m thrilled to see Nora move up and on to hopefully bigger and better things, a selfish little part of me is kind of bummed. I know I speak for Paul, Rob, Brad, Martin, Carl, and Alan when I say we’re really going to miss her. Nevertheless, congratulations to Nora. Maybe some day, if and when Stargate ever ends, we’ll get the chance to work together again.”
I’m saddened that I’ll never get that chance.