Lighting strikes at U.K.’s Five

Chambers exits; Opie comes aboard sinking web

LONDON — Blighty’s underperforming terrestrial web, Five, has lost its program topper following the appointment of another exec over his head.

Dan Chambers, director of programs, is ankling as ex-Flextech managing director, Lisa Opie, is appointed to the new post of managing director of content.

In a statement CEO Jane Lighting paid tribute to Chambers’ three-year tenure as program supremo.

But behind-the-scenes unrest over the inability of Chambers — once hailed as a golden boy due to his youth — to generate homegrown break-out hits and boost Five’s flagging ratings have made his departure inevitable.

Said Lighting, a former colleague of Opie’s: “Dan has done a good job at Five and has been a wonderful colleague; however we now need a creative director with the skills and expertise to run a portfolio of channels.”

Five, wholly owned by pan-European broadcasting giant RTL, has seen its audience share drift alarmingly in recent months.

Additionally questions have been asked about the station’s creative purpose, or, according to some, lack of it.

Opie said: “I am delighted to be joining Five during this most exciting period in its history. Five has fantastic content and a unique position in the market. I’m looking forward to working with the team to build a distinctive digital portfolio.”

After several years of impressive growth, Five’s audience share is in steep decline — down 10.8% year on year, the biggest drop of all the U.K. terrestrials.

It now remains to be seen if Opie, and the station’s two new digital weblets, Five US and Five Life, launched earlier this month, can help rectify the situation.

It is understood a new director of programs may be appointed to toil under Opie, who worked at Flextech overseeing multi channel webs like Living and Bravo for 13 years prior to her surprise departure in June.

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