As predicted, Channel 4 television director Kevin Lygo has been appointed managing director of ITV Studios. Current ITV Studios boss Lee Bartlett will continue to oversee its overseas business. There is no word yet on when Lygo will start. But his departure from Channel 4 was seen as inevitable when he was passed over for the top job. Newly-appointed Channel 4 CEO David Abraham is about to start shortly. I wonder how Lygo will find the move from potentate to supplicant. ITV Studios is, despite its size, just another producer out there pitching for business.
“It’s a good move for Kevin because he couldn’t keep on working with David Abraham’s Channel 4,” one media analyst tells me, “but ITV Studios’ underlying problems remain the same. And they’ve defeated everybody who’s previously held the job.”
In short, ITV Studios’ problem is how to increase its dwindling 47% share of network output. Should it be cut free from the broadcaster and go completely independent? Or, as has been mooted, will ITV do something imaginative and merge it with a big producer such as Talkback Thames, which makes its biggest show, The X Factor? There was speculation last weekend about ITV merging with Talkback’s owner Five. ITV says that is not something currently under consideration.