BBC1 boss to shun U.S. series

Hunt to seek out innovative British drama

The head of the U.K.’s most popular web, BBC1, has ruled out more U.S. acquisitions.

Jay Hunt, who took over as controller of BBC1 a year ago, will instead continue to spend most of her drama budget on locally produced fare, such as “Doctor Who” and “Life on Mars.”

At present, BBC1 runs the Glenn Close legal skein “Damages,” recently singled out for praise by BBC chairman Michael Lyons, in a latenight slot.

Under Hunt’s leadership, this policy of pushing U.S. fare to the margins of the schedules looks certain to continue.

Hunt told the Broadcasting Press Guild on Tuesday: “It is very unlikely that we will show U.S. series in primetime. It is nice to have ‘Damages’ in the mix. The show is hugely valued by a very small audience, but it is a very small audience.

“Part of what the charter (the BBC’s constitution) commits us to is to find the best of world television and showcase it … but my main job in drama is to spearhead real innovation and creativity in original British production.”

Hunt added that Hollywood movies would also be used sparingly.

“Feature films are great to have at times like Christmas, but they are only a tiny part of our drama story,” she said.

In contrast to BBC1, sister webs BBC2 and BBC4 continue to give prime slots to U.S. shows including “Heroes” and “Mad Men.”