McGhee takes 'career break'

LONDON — The BBC’s head of acquisitions, seasoned buyer George McGhee, is quitting to take a career break.

McGhee, who was appointed just under six years ago, has led the corp.’s program and film buying team during a period when a number of well-chosen U.S. shows, such as “Heroes,” “Damages,” “The Tudors” and “Mad Men,” have all punched above their weight in the pubcaster’s schedules, which are driven by U.K. productions.

He said: “After 30 years in television, I really want to take a career break and spend more time in Scotland and France.

“My team here has been very supportive and fun. I have been so lucky in having the only career I ever wanted and I am proud and pleased that my last major position has been at the BBC, which is still the finest broadcaster in the world.”

In the short term, McGhee will be replaced by program acquisitions series head, Sue Deeks, pending an overhaul of the department’s structure, which follows the departure of fiction head Jane Tranter, now co-running BBC Worldwide’s production arm in Los Angeles.

Movie buys under McGhee’s leadership include “Pirates of the Caribbean” and the Indiana Jones pics.

BBC director of Vision Jana Bennett said: “Our line-up of big films for all the family, particularly at Christmas, is due to George’s persistence on behalf of the BBC. Particular highlights include securing the Indiana Jones series, ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ and ‘The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.’

“In addition, he was integral to the BBC2 British Film Season for which he secured the rights to some 60 feature films.”

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