U.K.’s Channel 4 names head buyer

Gill Hay promoted to acquisitions chief

LONDON — Gill Hay is to be upped to become head of program acquisitions at U.K. broadcaster Channel 4, a keen buyer of U.S. fare.

Hay, previously deputy director of acquisitions, succeeds Jeff Ford who recently jumped ship to join rival U.K. web Five, where he will be managing director of digital channels and acquisitions.

Hay, who trained as a lawyer, joined Channel 4 eight years ago from Blighty’s biggest paybox BSkyB.

At Channel 4, she worked initially as a lawyer for then acquisitions topper June Dromgoole.

Hay was subsequently appointed deputy director of acquisitions in 2005 and helped to buy such high-profile U.S. skeins as “Desperate Housewives” and, more recently, “Ugly Betty.”

While the web’s acquisitions budget has been cut in the past year as Channel 4 moves to beef up its public service credentials by investing more coin in home-grown shows, U.S. imports remain a key part of the station’s offering.

“Our buying policy has always been to secure the very best shows for the Channel 4 audience,” said Hay.

“So it’s very much business as usual. Having said that, with the Hollywood writers’ strike it’s been an unusual year for acquisitions and for the first time that I can remember there were no new U.S. shows in our fall schedules.”

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