ITV programming head Liddiment ankles

Exec's exit follows difficult year

LONDON — ITV programming supremo David Liddiment is stepping down after five years on the job.

Liddiment ankles the post of director of channels on the heels of a very difficult year for the U.K.’s biggest commercial web, including ITV1’s defeat by BBC1 in the ratings war, a downturn in advertising and the closure of failed paybox ITV Digital.

Liddiment will stay on until his successor is named later this year.

“It’s well known that I have loved this job more than any other in my career,” he said. “To give it up has been an extremely difficult decision, but after five years I feel that it is time to hand over the reins and move on.”

In his first three years at ITV, Liddiment was responsible for a string of successes, including “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” which he stripped over five nights a week, decimating the competition.

That dominance, however, did not prove sustainable against a resurgent BBC under director general Greg Dyke, himself a former ITV exec.

ITV said Liddiment’s exit would not impact the web adversely in that the fall sked was in place, and ITV1’s programming budget has been boosted by an additional £100 million ($153 million).

Liddiment came to ITV in 1997 from ITV company Granada, where he was managing director of Granada U.K. Broadcasting. He has held a number of other ITV and Granada positions, and from 1993-95 was also the BBC’s head of entertainment.

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