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Cohen named BBC TV chief

BBC1 controller Danny Cohen has been promoted to director of BBC Television by new director general Tony Hall.

Cohen had been controller of BBC1 since October 2010, during which time it commissioned shows including Call The Midwife, which has been sold to broadcasters around the world. Prior to that he spent three years in charge of youth-skewing BBC3.

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He will now oversee the corporation’s four main channels and iPlayer VoD service, as well as being responsible for drama, entertainment, BBC Knowledge, comedy and BBC Films. In addition, he will oversee the BBC Television archive and in-house production.

Cohen has pipped BBC North director Peter Salmon to the role, which was formerly known as director of vision and had been held on an acting basis by Roger Mosey since August last year, when the previous incumbent, George Entwistle, became director general.

Entwistle lasted just 54 days in the top job before resigning in the wake of the Newsnight and Jimmy Saville sex abuse scandals. He was replaced by Hall, former CEO of the Royal Opera House, for whom Cohen represents the final piece in his new look senior management team.

Prior to joining the BBC, Cohen was head of factual entertainment and E4 at commercial broadcaster Channel 4, commissioning hits such as Skins and The Inbetweeners.

Hall said: “Danny Cohen has been the driving force behind an extremely successful period in BBC1’s history. Key to his success has been an ability to provide viewers with a mixture of high-quality programmes they enjoy whilst also introducing them to new subjects they might not have considered before.”

Cohen said: “I’m honoured to be taking over as director of BBC Television. Our ambition is to be the finest broadcaster and producer in the world, and our values will be based on talent, creativity, storytelling and innovation.”

Cohen begins his new role on May 7 and will be paid a total package of £327,800 (US$500,000).

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