Little more than a week after ITV Director of Television, Peter Fincham, announced his departure, the broadcaster’s Director of Entertainment and Comedy, Elaine Bedell, is also set to exit. Bedell is a seven-year veteran of the UK’s leading commercial network and has been responsible for ordering and overseeing a wide-ranging slate of hit programs including Britain’s Got Talent, The X Factor, I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!, and Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway.
Bedell will leave at the end of February. Fincham, who has been with the broadcaster for eight years, said of her today, “Elaine has been a tremendous colleague over the past seven years and has led the entertainment and comedy team with unswerving commitment and enormous flair. I can completely understand why she wants to seek new pastures and I wish her the very best of luck.”
Kevin Lygo, who will take over from Fincham on Monday, added, “We have worked closely together during my time at ITV Studios and I am sorry that she has decided to step down, and that we won’t get a chance to work together when I cross the divide to look after the channels business.”
Bedell said, “I more or less arrived at ITV at the same time as Susan Boyle — and from that extraordinary audition moment on, it has been the most exhilarating seven years… I’m very proud of our output, but seven years is a long time to be a commissioner and it’s time for me to move on and let someone else make their mark.”
There’s been speculation that Lygo’s appointment might affect Bedell who has been described as a key Fincham lieutenant. Renewal decisions will also be coming on two of the shows she oversaw, Simon Cowell’s X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent, whose contracts expire this year. The aging franchises are still top draws but ITV now has The Voice which it snagged from the BBC last year.
Bedell and Fincham’s exits come at a time of change in the UK broadcasting landscape. Rival BBC has also lost several key execs in the past months. BBC Two and BBC Four Controller Kim Shillinglaw’s departure was announced last week following the November departure of Director of Television Danny Cohen.
ITV has been on an acquisitions spree in the past few years and seen business rebound under boss Adam Crozier. The U.S. business has also grown exponentially. In December, Brent Montgomery, founder and CEO of ITV-owned Leftfield Entertainment, was officially appointed CEO of ITV Studios U.S. Group, now ITV America. That appointment followed the exit of ITV Studios America President Orly Adelson.