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UK factual Musical Chairs

Two years ago many broadcast heads in France stood up and traded seats. This year it looks to be the UK's turn. Beyond the audience trust that recently caused many people moves, and all the changes with the cuts to the BBC, there is a new mass movement going on in factual programming.
December 1, 2007

Two years ago many broadcast heads in France stood up and traded seats. This year it looks to be the UK’s turn. Beyond the audience trust that recently caused many people moves, and all the changes with the cuts to the BBC, there is a new mass movement going on in factual programming.

It started in September with Ralph Lee’s move from Channel 4 to Five as head of factual and Mark Reynolds’ move from Granada International to director of factual for BBC Worldwide’s Indie Unit. Granada International, in turn, appointed Richard Life as its new head of factual, taking him from Channel 4 International. Five then made another announcement: with the appointment of Lee and departure of Kim Peat, the channel’s controller of daytime, arts and religion, a few more moves were going to be made. Firstly, responsibility for daytime would be moved to the factual entertainment department, and commissioning for arts and religion would fall under factual, overseen by Lee. Alex Menzies was moved into the head of features chair; Steve Gowans was given responsibility of factual programming for Five’s digital channels – Five Life and Five US – and a new title: multi-channel commissioner. Robi Dutta became a commissioning editor in the factual entertainment and features department. Confused yet?

More internal moves took place at Discovery Networks UK when it moved its own VP of production and development, Dan Korn, into the head of factual chair, and shifted VP of programming Paul Welling into the head of lifestyle throne. Both of these jobs were created following the departure of Discovery’s senior VP of programming, Jill Offman.

Diverse, a branch of Zodiak Television, picked up Ed Crick from TLC and Mark Roberts from Channel 4. Crick joined Diverse as VP of production and development, while Roberts joined the team as executive producer of factual.

Channel 4, who seems to be losing its staff to other networks, gained Joanna Ball from Ricochet and gave her the title of commissioning editor for the channel’s features team.

Daniela Neumann, previous head of factual and features at Wall to Wall TV joined Virgin Media Television as acting director of programs, overseeing programming for the new free-to-view Virgin 1 channel, as well as pay channels Bravo, Bravo 2, Challenge and Trouble.

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