Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Grade A

Michael Grade's appointment as chairman of ITV is a huge coup.

While there has been endless amounts of speculation about who will succeed Charles Allen as chief executive by journalists and analysts, with just about every name in the industry mentioned at least once, no one has paid any attention to who will replace ITV chairman Sir Peter Burt. Then wham!, out of nowhere, ITV pulls something out of the bag.

If ever a broadcaster needs a figure like Grade and his years of industry experience then this is it.

Grade is only two-and-a-half years into a four-year term as chairman of the BBC. That's not a job you leave lightly.

Grade is clearly relishing the challenges ahead. The first will be to finalise the appointment of a chief executive.

Stephen Carter or Andy Duncan seem to be the floating favourites.

After that, there is the challenge of programming and advertising and ITV knows it. In the announcement, Burt said it straight.

"ITV's challenges, particularly on the programming and advertising side, are considerable."

What's left after the programming and the advertising? Oh right the static.

Grade knows it as well.

"My first priority at ITV will be to support the team in accelerating the improvement in programming performance for our viewers and advertisers. This is the best way to enhance the value of the company for our shareholders," he said.

At the BBC, he has been looking on as the, largely the BBC continues to innovate and succeed with its entertainment programming, creating smash hits such as ' Strictly Come Dancing', 'Doctor Who', 'Jane Eyre' and documentaries such as 'Planet Earth' while ITV flounders.

There is little to compare on ITV at times. Other than its hit soaps, it’s all a bit of a forgettable wash. Although to be fair as reality TV shows go, 'I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!’ is a winner. At least ITV axed 'Love Island' to the collective relief of all but tabloid gossip writers. Now, with the failed NTL merger behind it, if it can focus on quality, ITV's future is suddenly this morning looking a little brighter.

UPDATE: Another thought, everyone is no doubt wondering how much exactly ITV is paying Grade. No idea, other than a lot, but to give an idea back in July Grade did say the BBC was underpaying its executives as he deflected criticism of director-general Mark Thompson's recent pay rise to £619,000.

Grade said that the ten members of the BBC's executive board all could earn more if they worked in the private sector, rather than for the publicly funded broadcaster.

He has obviously taken his own advice.


At 9:47 AM, Anonymous The Online Pixie said...

Let's just hope he's up to the Grade...ho ho ho.

Sherioushly though guys how much more must they be paying him?

And now there's a vacancy as Chairman of the Beeb can we expect our very own Gordie to apply? What have you got to lose Gordie other than your dignity and self respect?

At 9:57 AM, Blogger Gordon said...

Dignity and self respect? Its a little late for that.


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