Keelan kiboshes Sky move, takes BBCWW post

Liam Keelan, most recently controller for BBC Daytime and set to join BSkyB as director of Sky1, is now headed to BBC Worldwide in the newly created role of global editorial director.
February 11, 2013

Liam Keelan, most recently controller for BBC Daytime and named as director of BSkyB’s entertainment channel Sky1 in December, is now headed to BBC Worldwide in a newly created position – global editorial director.

Keelan will be responsible for developing strong editorial and creative visions for BBCWW channels BBC Knowledge, BBC Entertainment, CBeebies and BBC Lifestyle, as well as new channel brands. He will also work with BBC Worldwide’s genre directors and brand teams to foster creative partnerships with the BBC and indie prodcos, as the company looks to grow new brands and franchises.

He will report to chief content officer, Helen Jackson, who was promoted to the role in December as part of a restructure.

In his role of BBC Daytime controller, Keelan revamped its schedule, and commissioned The Week We Went To War, Land Girls, Rewind The 60s and The Story Of Us.

“For our success to continue it will increasingly require us to create, coproduce and commission content,” said Helen Jackson in a statement. “Liam brings with him huge experience and the results he produced in ratings for BBC1 speak for themselves.

“Having a strong central editorial direction for the company in our new regionalized structure is absolutely paramount and in Liam we undoubtedly have the right man to deliver this.”

“This is a job I’ve always wanted to do,” added Keelan. “The opportunity to take part in extending the BBC brand – with its suite of channels across the globe – is too exciting to pass up.”

When the announcement was made in December of last year that Keelan would be heading up Sky1, he’d said in a statement that “the commissioning and acquisitions teams at Sky are of the highest caliber. The channel has launched some hugely successful shows across every genre over the last few years so I’m really looking forward to getting  started.”

He’d been tapped to replace Stuart Murphy, who was promoted to director of entertainment channels last April, and was also set to oversee Sky1+1 and Sky 2.

The Guardian reports that Murphy told staff in an internal email that he was “disappointed that [Keelan] has changed his mind at this stage, but it wouldn’t have been the right move either for us or for Liam if he wasn’t fully committed.” He added that the search for a new channel head has begun.

(With files from Barry Walsh and Kevin Ritchie)

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