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BBC America to Relocate, Restructure

Jan 19, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Recently hired BBC America President and CEO Bill Hilary announced a plan Wednesday to help get the network back on track following a ratings slide. The plan includes relocating the network’s headquarters from Maryland to New York, a programming budget increase and the hiring of Mr. Hilary’s former Comedy Central colleague Kathryn Mitchell as general manager.

“What I intend to do is take the channel to the next level by turning it into a creative force in the U.S. and a great business,” Mr. Hilary said. “With the support of the BBC and our partner Discovery, we will be doubling our programming budget over the next two years.”

Though the network’s programming budget will increase, the channel will continue to run only BBC television shows and will not expand to U.S.-produced programming, Mr. Hilary said.

Mr. Hilary came to BBC America late last year from Comedy Central, where he was general manager. BBC America has suffered a gradual ratings decline in recent quarters since the conclusion of its breakout hit “The Office.” Mr. Hilary said the network’s over-reliance on makeover programming contributed to the slide.

The move to New York will begin in June.

In addition, BBC America communications executive Jo Petherbridge has been promoted to senior VP of corporate communications, online and strategy.