Garth Ancier Leaving Helm of BBC America

Nov 19, 2009  •  Post A Comment

Garth Ancier is stepping down as the president of BBC America. UPDATE: This news was first reported this morning by Bill Carter of the New York Times on its  Media Decoder blog.

According to Nikki Finke at Deadline Hollywood, here’s the email Ancier sent his staff today:

This morning we will announce that I intend to step down in March as President of the U.S. portion of the company, but remain a non-executive director of BBC Worldwide America.

Together we have achieved a great deal over the past three years and I’m immensely proud of what we’ve accomplished.

BBC America is performing at an all time high. We’ve increased distribution to 65 million homes, doubled primetime ratings and established a raft of mainstream hits including Torchwood, Top Gear and Primeval. Bringing ad sales in-house has increased revenue by 39% in year one and Mark Gall and his team have doubled the channel’s advertiser base. Establishing an in-house affiliate team makes our distribution efforts stronger and is already driving the roll out of BBC America HD. As many of you know, plans are also well advanced for the launch of pre-school channel CBeebies next year.

One of my proudest achievements is the commissioning of BBC World News America. Rome Hartman and his team have done a remarkable job. WNA has become a cornerstone of BBC America’s schedule and is retransmitted throughout the world. The program upholds all that is great about BBC News, but packages it effectively for the U.S. market. In its first year it won a much- deserved Peabody Award, and this year it has received six Emmy nominations – fingers crossed for December 7!

I believe we’ve now aligned BBC America, DVD and DTO to effectively exploit content across all windows. In digital, Beth Clearfield has spearheaded important deals with Amazon, Xbox, Netflix and iTunes. BBC America is now one of the top 15 television providers on iTunes in the U.S. Next year, our digital story will get even stronger with the launch of a U.S. facing edition of BBC.com.

On the BBC Worldwide Productions front, Dancing With The Stars remains a reality juggernaut and is about to wrap its ninth season on ABC. I’m delighted Jane Tranter joined us in January to head up the U.S. production operation adding scripted production to our slate, and that our New York-based team, set up to serve the East Coast cable industry, has won several new commissions.

In Home Entertainment, Planet Earth continues to be a remarkable success for Burton Cromer and team. It is now the number one DVD documentary of all time in the U.S., selling over four million units. We look forward to the release of follow-up, Life, early next year.

The business is firing on all cylinders – and now seems a suitable time to pass the day to day running of the U.S. over to someone new. I sincerely thank all of you for your continued hard work and dedication. Without you we could not have grown the BBC brand so significantly or increased profits by 78%. I very much look forward to continuing to work with you in my new role.

A search for my replacement is underway – but in the meantime it’s business as usual!

Best regards,

–Chuck Ross


  1. The New York Times broke this story five hours before Nikki posted anything on her site. And yet you’re citing her… why???

  2. Hi Brian. Brian (if it’s really you), for those of you not familar with his byline, is a colleague of Bill Carter’s at the New York Times. Bill is indeed the person who broke this story about Garth this morning.
    1) To answer your question directly, Brian, we did not cite Nikki for breaking the story. We cited her as where we got the entire memo, which Bill didn’t publish.
    2) One of my pet peeves, for years, is making sure that reporters who break stories get proper credit for doing so. I have spent literally hours over the years complaining to other editors and reporters when reporters who have worked for me have not been credited with breaking stories. Thus I think we have a pretty good track record on giving credit where credit is due here on TVWeek.com. We have credited the NY Times countless times for the great work you and Bill and your colleagues do, as I’m sure you’ve noticed.
    3) That being said, I also should have credited Bill as the person who broke this story this morning.

    Chuck Ross
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