From Deadline|London editor Tim Adler: Katie Taylor, a veteran comedy executive, has been picked to run the BBC’s entertainment department. This is the first time a woman has been chosen for one of the most important jobs in British broadcasting. BBC Entertainment handles all of the BBC’s “shiny floor shows” — those talent competitions which fill TV schedules these days. It used to be drama executives looked down on light entertainment. After all, it was drama that had the deep pockets. Today it’s talent shows that cost up to £1.5 million ($2.3 million) per episode. The budget ceiling for drama over here is around half that.
Taylor, who will take up her role later in the spring, has a long comedy background. She used to work at Channel 4 before she joined the BBC, where she developed a relationship with chat show host Graham Norton. The BBC is now grooming Norton to take over from Jonathan Ross as its top chat show presenter. One TV executive who knows Taylor told me that she’s great with talent and can spot a hit. Oh, and in this age of Perrier-sipping Beeb execs, it’s a relief to know that she likes a drink.
Taylor takes over the job from Jon Beazley, who quit last month. Guy Freeman, former music and events controller at ITV, was also in the running for the job.