ITV executive in charge of The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent steps down

Elaine Bedell calls time on seven years at ITV on the eve of the arrival of incoming new boss Kevin Lygo

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ITV’s director of entertainment and comedy Elaine Bedell has decided to step down after seven years.

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Bedell, who joined ITV in 2009, oversees some of the network’s biggest programmes including Britain’s Got Talent, The X Factor, I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!, Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway and The Brits. 

She will leave ITV at the end of February in a move that some insiders have suggested is the first sign of an upcoming top level clear out by incoming director of television Kevin Lygo.

Bedell’s successor will have to navigate a new deal with Simon Cowell, whose X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent contracts expire this year. The replacement will also have to shepherd new entertainment acquisition The Voice which ITV has poached from BBC1 and is due to air on the commercial channel in January 2017.

Kevin Lygo, who takes over from Peter Fincham as Director of Television on Monday (1st February), said:  ”Elaine has done a great job running entertainment and comedy at ITV. We have worked closely together during my time at ITV Studios and I am sorry that she has decided to step down, and that we won’t get a chance to work together when I cross the divide to look after the channels business. I wish her every success for the future.”

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Bedell, who enjoyed a very close professional relationship with Fincham, said: “I more or less arrived at ITV at the same time as Susan Boyle – and from that extraordinary audition moment on, it has been the most exhilarating seven years. I’ve had the privilege of being closely involved with some of the very best entertainment and comedy talent in the UK and worked with some exceptional producers – as well as the brilliant, unbelievably hard-working teams here at the Network. I’m very proud of our output, but seven years is a long time to be a commissioner and it’s time for me to move on and let someone else make their mark. I wish Kevin all the very best – I know he will do a great job.”