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Fincham leaves ITV

ITV's Peter Fincham speaking in Edinburgh

Peter Fincham’s next move is not yet known

ITV director of television Peter Fincham is leaving the UK commercial broadcaster after almost eight years to be replaced by ITV Studios MD Kevin Lygo.

Julian Bellamy, MD of ITV Studios in the UK, will step up to take overall control of ITV Studios globally, replacing Lygo.

Fincham joined ITV in 2008 after two years as controller of BBC1, where he resigned in 2007 following controversy over The Queen being misrepresented in a trailer for a documentary.

He has overseen runaway ratings success stories, such as Downton Abbey, during his time with the channel but more recently had to defend his record amid declining ratings for mainstays such as The X Factor and poor showings from new shows such as the revamped Stars In Their Eyes.

Kevin Lygo

Kevin Lygo

Lygo, meanwhile, was previously director of television and content at rival terrestrial Channel 4 before he stepped down in 2010 to take over ITV Studios.

During the last five years he has overseen unprecedented growth of the broadcaster’s production business, with high-profile acquisitions of UK indies such as The Garden, US firms such as Gurney Productions and Leftfield Entertainment, and European formats giant Talpa.

He hired Discovery Networks International creative director Bellamy to lead the UK arm of the production business in April 2014,  following the departure of Denise O’Donoghue.

Fincham, who will remain with the broadcaster until the end of March to oversee a handover process, said he hadn’t finalised his next move yet but added that he was looking to return to independent production.

Julian Bellamy

Julian Bellamy

“This is a personal decision that I have been thinking about for a good while,” he said. “By the time I leave at Easter I will have been a channel controller at the BBC and ITV, amazing as it seems, for 11 years. Quite simply, it’s time to do something different.

“I haven’t made any firm plans for the future yet, but I wouldn’t rule out a return to the indie sector – I ran TalkBack for a lot longer than I’ve been on the broadcasting side and that indie heart has never quite stopped beating.”

ITV CEO Adam Crozier added: “Peter came to see me in September to say that he wanted to step down and while I am sorry to see him leave, eight years is a long time and I fully respect his desire for a new challenge.

“We are fortunate to have some of the best creative talent in the industry at ITV and that has enabled us to put in place a seamless succession plan. I’m delighted that Kevin is to take on the role of director of television, a position he previously held at Channel 4. He is perfectly placed to lead the commissioning team as we enter this next exciting phase.

“It’s also fantastic news that Julian is going to run our Studios business. The US is obviously a huge focus for ITV, and Julian’s experience while at Discovery will be incredibly important as we continue to grow and develop in the UK and internationally.”

As part of the reshuffle at ITV Studios, David McGraynor, currently finance director, will step up to chief finance and operating officer of the division.

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