Airey demands choice of programming chief as key condition of move to ITV

LONDON - Speculation surrounding Channel 5 chief executive Dawn Airey's move to head up the ITV network has intensified with reports that Airey is demanding she be allowed to choose her own director of programmes as a condition of taking the job.

Airey is believed to want to bring a team from Channel 5 to ITV if she is to accept the job. This team would most certainly include Kevin Lygo, Airey's director of programmes at Channel 5, among other as-yet-unknown names.

Lygo would fill the slot left vacant by ITV director of programmes David Liddiment, who resigned from ITV earlier this year.

Airey's potential package at ITV is understood to include a £1.5m salary. She is also said to be seeking guarantees on investment in programming at the network and less interference from Carlton Communications and Granada in the running of the network.

Airey, who turned down the top job at Channel 4 when Michael Jackson left to run USA Networks' entertainment arm USA Entertainment, earns around £300,000 a year at Channel 5.

However, she is believed to be set to pick up a large performance-related bonus after increasing Channel 5's advertising and audience share.

She has been widely credited with helping to turn the channel's fortune's around and shaking off its sport, film and soft-porn label by bringing in more high-quality programming.

Channel 5 has started to show many more documentaries, as well as popular US drama shows such as 'CSI - Crime Scene Investigation'.

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