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Hunt to be BBC1 head

Exec joins from Five

LONDON — The BBC has tapped one of its former senior programmers as head of flagship web BBC1.

Jay Hunt, who left the corp. only a few months ago to become program director at Five, will take over as BBC1 controller sometime in 2008.

Several weeks ago, Hunt, formerly head of daytime at both BBC1 and 2, ruled herself out for the job, but it seems the pubcaster was able to convince her to have a change of heart.

Hunt’s appointment is potentially damaging for Five, which is attempting to reposition itself in what is a very competitive market place.

While Hunt has managed to keep a relatively low profile, her background is ideal for a role that involves both winning ratings and keeping the Beeb’s credentials as a pubcaster on the straight and narrow.

In a statement, BBC director of vision Jana Bennett said: “I am really pleased to welcome Jay back to the BBC to take up the reins of the U.K.’s most popular channel and the BBC’s flagship channel.

“She has impeccable credentials as a commissioner, channel leader and journalist and has a deep commitment to the BBC’s mission to bring the best programs to the widest audience.”

Hunt said: “Controller of BBC One has always been my dream job. Ultimately, I could not resist the opportunity to take on such a creatively exciting role. I am thrilled to be part of the channel’s future.”

With some 18 years experience at the BBC, she has worked in public affairs, including a spell on “Newsnight,” and journalism editing both “The One O’Clock News” and “The Six O’Clock News.”

Her work as a journalist was probably one of the reasons why the BBC wanted to hire her given that her predecessor, Peter Fincham, forced to resign over the so-called “Crowngate” row, had no journalistic experience.

As head of daytime, she worked across factual and drama shows, nurturing such fare as “Great British Menu,” “Extreme Dreams,” “HeirHunters” and the “Afternoon Play” strand.

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