Katz will step into the position vacated by Jay Hunt, who left in September. Katz will join commercial network Channel 4 from the BBC, where he is editor of the nightly news program “Newsnight.” He was previously deputy editor of the Guardian newspaper.
“Ian is an inspirational leader who assiduously builds and nurtures talented and empowered teams,” said Alex Mahon, Channel 4’s new CEO. “He has fantastic instincts and intelligence, huge editorial strength and is a proven creative and digital innovator, who lives and breathes the Channel 4 values.”
Katz will take over in January from interim chief creative officer Ralph Lee. Predecessor Hunt has gone on to join Apple as its creative director for Europe.
“I’m impossibly excited to be joining a broadcaster whose unique combination of innovation, risk-taking and elan I have admired for decades as a viewer – and more recently as a frequently envious rival,” Katz said.
He added: “Channel 4’s deeply held values and relentlessly challenging sensibility have never been more important or relevant, and I feel incredibly privileged to play a part in shaping the next stage of its remarkable journey.”
Like the BBC, Channel 4 is classified as a public-service broadcaster in the U.K., but unlike the BBC, it carries advertising. It commissions all of its programs from external suppliers and is currently enjoying a decent ratings run with “The Great British Bake off,” which it won from the BBC.
There was, however, a “Bake Off” mishap today when cook and judge Prue Leith accidentally tweeted the name of the winner of this season’s series ahead of the highly anticipated final episode, which will be broadcast Tuesday night. The tweet was quickly deleted.