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ITV merger decks exec

Hewlett unlikely to head up Granada America

LONDON — The imminent merger of Granada and Carlton has claimed another high-profile casualty. Steve Hewlett, director of programs at Carlton, is to leave the company, probably at the end of February.

Hewlett is one of the U.K.’s most highly regarded programmers. A former editor of BBC TV’s flagship current-affairs program “Panorama,” Hewlett helped mastermind the show’s 1995 interview with Princess Diana in which she accused Prince Charles of adultery.

Hewlett joined Carlton in September 1998 from Channel 4 in a bid to transform the company’s underachieving program department, a task he accomplished thanks to such series as “The Second World War in Color” and “Kelly and Her Sisters,” both award-winning documentaries, as well as hit dramas like “The Vice,” “Goodnight Mr. Tom” and “Margery & Gladys.”

At Carlton he set up a joint factual-programming venture with Newsweek and the Washington Post.

News of Hewlett’s departure follows Wednesday’s announcement that Carlton’s head of content, Rupert Dilnott-Cooper, also is leaving.

Meanwhile, another Granada topper has been confirmed in a key editorial role at the newly merged combo. Jim Allen, Granada director of factual programs, will become director of factual and entertainment at ITV.

Speculation that Hewlett might head up Granada America, ITV’s Hollywood offshoot, is waning. Paul Jackson, Granada’s director of entertainment and international production, and Stephen Davis, CEO of Carlton America, are being tipped for that job, and the appointment now is expected to go to Jackson.

A formal announcement regarding the Granada America job is expected early next week.

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