NBC exec O'Brien, 42, dies on "Parenthood" set

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Tragedy struck NBC’s pilot “Parenthood” on Wednesday night when network drama vice president Nora O’Brien died unexpectedly on the Berkeley, Calif., set of the show starring Peter Krause, Maura Tierney and Erika Christensen.

According to sources, O’Brien, a six-year NBC Universal veteran, died of a brain aneurysm. She was 42.

“Our hearts go out to the family and friends of our beloved colleague Nora, who was respected and cherished by so many people in the entertainment community,” NBC Universal said in a statement. “She’ll truly be missed by all of us.”

NBC, which is set to unveil its fall schedule to advertisers Monday, canceled all pilot screenings slated for Thursday. Production on “Parenthood” has been shut down for two days.

According to the Contra Costa Times, O’Brien, who was single, had been in the Bay Area for the past few weeks as part of a film crew shooting the pilot for “Parenthood,” based on the 1989 movie. Several locations in southern Marin County have been used for filming.

O’Brien complained of dizziness and collapsed at about 9:20 p.m. She was pronounced dead shortly before 10 p.m. at Marin General Hospital, the newspaper said.

O’Brien came to NBC in January 2008, when she was named VP drama programing for Universal Media Studios, which merged with the network in December. At the studio, she worked on the upcoming NBC drama series “The Philanthropist,” among other projects.

O’Brien joined NBC from sister cable network Sci Fi, where she served as VP original programing for four years. There, she developed episodic and longform programs, including the miniseries “The Lost Room,” and worked as a programing executive on “Stargate” and “Stargate Atlantis.”

Sci Fi executive vice president Mark Stern remembered that O’Brien was one of the first executives he brought over to the cable network, having earlier crossed paths with her during the postproduction of a movie.

“What was clear from the start was that she had a great passion, she was very smart and insightful, had great taste and aptitude for development and production, and her thoughts on the material were spot-on,” Stern said. “But the most amazing thing about her was her integrity. She fought for what she believed in, and she didn’t tolerate dishonesty or a lot of the bull this business can throw at you. She believed in being a straight-up honest person, and that’s why so many people were touched by her and are devastated by her loss.”

Before Sci Fi, O’Brien worked for five years as VP television at Trilogy Entertainment Group, overseeing development and current programing. The Boston College graduate began her career as an associate producer for Reunion Prods. in Boston, where she wrote and produced documentary films.

Plans for a memorial service are yet to be announced.