The appointment of Michael Jackson as the new chief executive of
Channel 4 has been given a cautious welcome by the advertising
Jackson will join Channel 4 from the BBC, where he is the director of
television, on 1 June. He has a reputation as one of the country’s best
Jackson was a leading member of the Campaign for Channel 4 - which
argued for the introduction of the channel at the end of the 70s - and
was one of the first producers to make shows for it.
A graduate in media studies from the Polytechnic of Central London,
Jackson has been with the BBC for ten years. He moved up from head of
music and arts to become controller of BBC2, and then controller of
BBC1. At 39, he will be Channel 4’s youngest chief executive.
Michael Bishop, chairman of Channel 4, said Jackson’s ’innovative flair
and competitive instincts will ensure that Channel 4’s programme remit
continues to thrive.’
In the face of recent accusations that Channel 4 has been moving away
from its remit and targeting mainstream commercial audiences, Jackson
insisted this week that the remit was the key to the channel’s
UK production and the channel’s commitment to the British film industry
would be key areas for expansion, Jackson confirmed this week. He also
signalled that the channel could reduce US imports.
Jackson will not have to fight privatisation. The new National Heritage
Secretary, Chris Smith, confirmed this week that the Labour Government
had no intention of privatising the channel.
David Cuff, the broadcast director of Initiative Media, said: ’Jackson
does not come from our world, but he’s done damage to commercial TV
through the improvements he made at BBC2.’