Thursday, September 07, 2006

ITV upstarts

Here is my idea. To run ITV you need to know something about television. It's crazy, I know.

Yesterday, it was McCann Erickson's Rupert Howell who emerged as a possible candidate to run ITV.

Howell is a very successful and bright ad man. Advertising is obviously important to ITV, but is that enough?

Today's candidate is Mike Clasper, the former BAA chief executive. He's been mentioned before. Again he is not a broadcaster. If you want to find your luggage, he's your man. If you want to know why one of your planes is missing, he is your man.

But again, is he really the guy to revive ITV, which let’s face it is in crisis? It needs a shot in the arm.

I think personally that it needs someone who knows about television, someone with a track record of doing the job. Is Ofcom's Stephen Carter that man?

Look what happened last time they gave the top job to someone who knew little about TV.

They gave it to a man who was an accountant by trade and nicknamed “the upstart caterer” by the industry. OK, there might have been some snobbishness in that, but look at the record of Charles Allen? It's not something anyone is going to celebrate.

His legacy is the Granada/Carlton merger.

ITV now needs someone, a Dawn Airey, a Greg Dyke, who can work miracles on its schedule and turn it around.

What ITV needs is someone, anyone, who knows about programming.

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