BBC3 controller Damian Kavanagh is understood to be the leading candidate to take over from Jay Hunt as the top creative oinerson at Channel 4.
Hunt left the broadcaster’s Horseferry Road building on Friday after more than six years in charge. The search for her successor as chief creative officer is well underway with Kavanagh a firm favourite according to senior sources close to the process.
He is believed to have impressed bosses at the channel with his handling of BBC3’s move online 18 months ago as well as its engagement with younger audiences.
Hits on BBC3 include the drama Thirteen as well as comedies such as People Just Do Nothing and Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag.
“Fleabag is a show Channel 4 would have dearly loved and he seems the man of the moment – someone who has learned a lot about digital engagement while also having the programme commissioning pedigree a channel like C4 needs,” said a source.
Recent figures have shown that the channel is on course to reach its audience target of 10 per cent of all viewers aged 16-34 by 2020. Currently that figure stands at 8.5 per cent of people within that age range.
When asked by RadioTimes.com earlier this month whether he had applied for the post, Kavanagh declined to confirm whether or not he was in the running for the role or if he had submitted an application.
He said: “I am staying with BBC3 for the foreseeable. I absolutely love it. It’s a massively creative place.”
Some sources say that the recruitment process could still throw up a few surprises at this late stage with the Channel 4 board still running the rule over other candidates.
Ben has worked as a professional journalist specialising in TV and the arts for nearly twenty years. After a two year stint on local newspapers in the mid 1990s, he spent more than 5 years as the broadcast reporter at the Stage newspaper. Following that he enjoyed staff reporting positions at the Sunday Mirror and the Sunday Times breaking stories and writing features before settling as a full time freelance writing for an array of newspapers and magazines - but mainly for the Guardian, Evening Standard, Broadcast, Independent and the New Statesman where he wrote a column.