Gardam gone at C4

Five's Lygoe frontrunner for post at U.K. net

LONDON — Channel 4’s effective No. 2, director of television Tim Gardam, announced Wednesday that he will leave the web at the end of the year.

Gardam’s exit has been predicted since the arrival of new CEO Mark Thompson in spring 2002.

The two men had worked together previously at the BBC, where their relationship had not always been easy. But at C4 they had surprised colleagues by forging an effective partnership.

Gardam, an intense, cerebral man who was lured to C4 by Thompson’s predecessor, Michael Jackson (now working for Universal in the U.S.), said he was leaving “partly for personal reasons.”

He added, ” I have been director for programming and television for five years this autumn, and this has always been the maximum time I thought it would be sensible to do the job. I now want to do something new.”

Lygoe’s leg up

Frontrunner to succeed Gardam in one of the key content jobs in British TV is Kevin Lygoe, director of programs at broadcaster Five and a former head of entertainment at C4, where he was pivotal in helping to set up the net’s digital sibling E4.

Lygoe is doing a management course in the U.S., but there have been rumors regarding his return to C4 for several weeks.

He is believed to be frustrated by the reluctance of Five’s owners, RTL and United News Media, to increase the programming budget and to give him the opportunity to boost the station’s audience share, stuck at around 6.5%.

Thompson paid tribute to Gardam’s “enormous creative force” and said his departure would be a big loss.

Gardam was key to the purchase of “The Simpsons” for C4 as well as developing the success of shows including “Big Brother,” “Faking It” and a controversial spoof documentary on pedophiles in the “Brass Eye” series.