Cecile+Frot-CoutezCecile Frot-Coutaz, FremantleMedia North America President, and ITV director of comedy and entertainment Elaine Bedell have emerged as candidates for the job of Talkback Thames CEO.

Talkback ThamesBedell enjoys the reputation of being a toughie. At ITV she has been in charge of Talkback cash-cows The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent. Yet, it’s the drama side that needs building up now that ITV has cancelled its long-running soap banker The Bill. That show contributes 40% of Talkback’s profits. Its cancellation was the reason why Talkback chairman Tony Cohen fired CEO Lorraine Heggessey last week. Simon Cowell and Sony hoover up 70% of the profits from his ratings blockbusters, not Talkback. Staff are bracing themselves for deep redundancies.

Other names being bandied about include Eyeworks CEO Paul Jackson, former director of entertainment at ITV; and ITV controller of factual and daytime Alison Sharman.

Sounds like a tough gig. I’ve been told that Heggessey’s email was cancelled even as she was taking the lift out of the building. How undignified.