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Bennett takes reins at BBC3

Exec transfers from top job at ITV2

LONDON — The BBC has tapped one of rival ITV’s rising stars to head youth-skewed web BBC 3.

Zai Bennett, ITV’s director of digital channels and acquisitions, came to prominence by turning another niche channel, ITV2, into a success at a time when the rest of ITV was struggling to catch up with digital innovation.

Between 2006 and 2009, Bennett established ITV2 as one of the U.K.’s most popular channels via a mix of original fare and shrewd deployment of U.S. shows like “Gossip Girl” and “Entourage.”

BBC3 faces an uncertain future with rivals insisting that the channel is occupying space already well catered for by commercial rivals, including ITV2.

The controllership of BBC3 became vacant when its last controller, Danny Cohen, was upped to running the corp.’s flagship web, BBC1.

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