After nearly seven years in the role, Jay Hunt has announced she is stepping down as Chief Creative Officer at Channel 4 at the end of September. Her departure comes just days before the broadcaster is expected to decide the channel’s new chief exec after David Abraham announced he was stepping down in March. Hunt was largely expected to be the front-runner for the top job.
Hunt, who joined the channel in January 2011 has led a successful creative renewal of the corporation’s on-screen output, commissioning a wide range of new and returning series across a range of genres and she was instrumental in poaching hit baking program The Great British Bake Off from the BBC last year.
During Hunt’s tenure, Channel 4 was named The Edinburgh TV Festival Channel of the year in 2014 and 2016. The channel has recently upped its game in the U.S. co-production arena, producing jointly projects such as AMC’s Humans and Loaded as well as Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams sci-fi anthology series with Sony Pictures TV.
Industry insiders have suggested that her exit may have been spurred on by the British government’s recent pledge to move the broadcaster outside of London to Birmingham.
“I’ve loved being at Channel 4 and am incredibly proud of how far we have come creatively,” said Hunt in a statement. “From the multiple Channel of the Year awards to the raft of global hits, we’ve had real success. I’ve been lucky to have a superlative boss in David Abraham and to have been supported by the best commissioning team in the business. I also owe a huge thank you to the brilliant producers, directors, writers and on screen talent who’ve made it such a thrilling time to be at the helm.
“I will continue in post till [sic] the end of September and am looking forward to Channel 4 delivering not just an exciting summer of sport but the richest autumn schedule we’ve ever had with big shows from the Great British Bake Off to Electric Dreams. It’ll be business as usual till [sic] October.”
Abraham said: “Jay took on one of the biggest challenges in broadcasting back in 2011 and through immense creativity, courage and determination has delivered magnificiently. In recent years the delivery of our remit and our creative output has reached new heights and both I, the staff of Channel 4 and the whole industry owe Jay huge thanks for all she has achieved.”