Ford exits at U.K.’s Channel 5

Net grew audience share year-on-year

LONDON — The sole surviving senior member of the Channel 5 management team is quitting more than two years after Northern and Shell boss Richard Desmond bought the web from RTL.

Jeff Ford, head of programs, will exit at the end of November after 15 years at the broadcaster but some reports suggest he may continue in an advisory role.

Ford played a pivotal role in re-inventing Channel 5, including buying local rights to Endemol’s “Big Brother” and helping to steer the web to profitability.

He said, “I am leaving the brand in a far better place with programs that viewers talk about and truly engage with. I am proud that we are the only commercial family of channels to have grown our audience share year-on-year, and that we have also increased audiences for the main channel across the key demographics including 16-34s and ABC1s.”

Desmond, famous for his hands-on approach, will now begin the hunt for a replacement for Ford.

Ford, who has bought U.S. shows for all the British terrestrial webs, is very well connected and unlikely to be short of job offers.

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