David Liddiment, program director of Granada TV, has become the latest big name from the commercial TV sector to be poached by the BBC.
Liddiment has been appointed head of the entertainment group, which gives him overall responsibility for the pubcaster’s comedy, variety, gameshow and chatshow output.
This places him in the forefront of the BBC’s battle to halt the steady decline in its ratings over the past couple of years — a task of vital political importance as the BBC negotiates with the government to renew its funding by the public license fee.
At Granada, Liddiment was responsible for many top-rated ITV shows that dented the BBC — hits like the soap “Coronation Street” and the sitcom “Watching.”
At the BBC, he replaces longtime head of light entertainment Jim Moir, who has been kicked upstairs to become deputy director of corporate affairs.
Since John Birt (a former ITV exec) took over as BBC director-general in January, the pubcaster has revitalized its senior management with a transfusion of executive talent from the private sector.
ITN chairman Bob Phillis became Birt’s deputy, Channel 4 deputy CEO Liz Forgan was appointed head of BBC radio, and Zenith CEO Charles Denton joined as head of drama.
With Liddiment’s departure from Granada TV, Steve Morrison has been promoted to managing director, adding responsibility for programs to his previous brief as head of broadcasting.