BBC Entetainment & Comedy Commission to ensure meritocracy in commissioning process

MUMBAI: UK broadcaster the BBC is hoping that the changes it has recently made to the Entertainment and Comedy Commissioning team will help put the window of creative competition (WOCC) into action and ensure a true meritocracy of commissioning.     

In the entertainment genre there will be a new role for the head of comedy commissioning. This will involve commissioning all in-house and independent scripted comedy. The person will report to BBC Entertainment commissioning controller Jane Lush.

The head of comedy commissioning will be supported by a Commissioning Editor, Comedy, Out of London – based in Glasgow. In this role the person appointed will be responsible for developing Out of London comedy proposals, with a £9m dedicated budget. In addition the BBC will also have three new senior roles which will replace the current commissioning executive roles. The new roles are executive editor, mainstream entertainment; executive Editor, format and executive editor, comedy. The people chsoen will work with independent and in house programme makers, and will have a clear brief and a dedicated development budget.

Explaining the reasons behind the restructuring Lush says, "Entertainment and comedy are incredibly important to our audiences. I am confident these changes will help us get the very best programmes on screen." BBC has already started making changes to its drama division. The Factual genre and Daytime are each introducing a new commissioning role out of London to better reflect the diversity of the audience and to help build thriving production bases across the UK.

BBC Television director Jana Benett said, "Our primary commitment and determination is to ensure a true meritocracy of commissioning – getting the best ideas on screen as efficiently and as effectively as we can, irrespective of who makes them – and the new structure in each genre is designed to ensure that happens."

In 2004, even without the creative window in place, the BBC's commissioning of independents is forecast at more than 30 per cent, well over the 25 per cent quota, for the first time in its history. "Equal access and a one-stop shop for independents and in-house suppliers will ensure a level playing field and a simpler, faster commissioning process should underpin it. A strong independent sector and a flourishing in-house production base are not mutually exclusive and will stimulate the competition that will deliver the best ideas to the audience." adds Bennett.

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