Channel 4 axes channel controller role in management shakeup

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Hamish Mykura and Angela Jain among those affected by decision to remove controllers
Tue 27 Jul 2010 11.53 EDT

Channel 4 has scrapped the position of channel controller, affecting high-profile figures including More4's Hamish Mykura and E4's Angela Jain, and boosted its programming budget by £50m as TV advertising revenues continue to recover.

The boost in budget, which will take Channel 4's programming clout back to £550m, follows a series of cuts aimed at protecting the broadcaster's profitability. The increase follows a blistering performance in terms of TV ad sales with Channel 4 recording double-digit year-on-year increases in ad revenue each month so far in 2010.

Separately, the Channel 4 chief executive, David Abraham, has announced that the broadcaster's channel controllers will be removed.

As predicted by, the shakeup creates a method of organising television output favoured by US channels, and one Abraham experienced when working for Discovery.

The decision most notably affects Angela Jain, the well-regarded controller of E4 and overseeer of Big Brother, currently on maternity leave, and Hamish Mykura of More4. It is understood that Channel 4 is keen to keep Jain, who is considered to have done a solid job with E4, and is in discussions about offering her a new, larger role when she returns to work.

Mykura, who is married to Janey Walker, Channel 4's outgoing managing editor – who takes redundancy next month – stays in his post as head of documentaries.

The main Channel 4 will be run in future by its current scheduler, Jules Oldroyd. The channel managers will all report to Rosemary Newell, the head of channel management, a former BBC scheduler brought to Channel 4 by Michael Jackson in the late 1990s.

In the new structure, Stuart Cosgrove, Channel 4's long-serving head of nations and regions who is partly based in Glasgow, assumes a new and extended role as director of creative diversity, adding to nations and regions a brief for cultural diversity (previously run by Oona King, now on unpaid leave as she prepares to run for Labour's nomination as mayor of London), disability, and the Paralympics.

The other commissioners are unchanged, with Dorothy Byrne as head of news; Camilla Campbell, drama; Shane Allen, comedy; Justin Gorman, entertainment; Sue Murphy, features and factual entertainment; Ralph Lee, specialist factual; and Helen Warner, daytime.

They all report to the chief creative officer, currently Julian Bellamy, the former head of Channel 4. However, Bellamy has not been confirmed in his post. Interviews for the job are expected to take place shortly, following an advertisement which closed on 16 July. The BBC3 controller, Danny Cohen, has ruled himself out, saying he is happy at the corporation.

Last month, Abraham announced he was cutting 24 senior posts at the company, whose management had become too top heavy after slimming down during 2009.

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