Damian Kavanagh Named New BBC Three Controller

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Damian KavanaghAfter months of searching, the BBC has appointed a new head of BBC Three.

Damian Kavanagh has been appointed to the position of Digital Controller of BBC Three. He will take up post in January and will be responsible for all editorial decisions for the channel both in its current form and the digital version of the channel, should the proposals to move BBC Three online get an OK from the BBC Trust.

With the appointment, Damian Kavanagh succeeds Zai Bennett, who stepped down as BBC Three Controller soon after DG Tony Hall and Danny Cohen confirmed plans to shut BBC Three as a broadcast channel. He was quickly appointed as Director of pay channel Sky Atlantic and has not been shy about expressing his displeasure over the plans for the channel he used to run.

Damian Kavanagh, who is currently serving as the BBC’s Controller of Daytime, will report to Director of Television Danny Cohen. The executive is also the BBC’s lead for the proposals to move BBC Three Online and as such many have viewed him as a logical choice to take the reins of the channel he is helping to shape.

“Damian did a brilliant interview in a very competitive field”, said Danny Cohen. “A digital BBC Three is going to be a huge team effort, requiring the BBC and the industry to work together in new ways for a new age. I’m very confident that Damian will lead this with passion, innovation and a commitment to the highest quality content.”

Details of the proposed moves, authored by Kavanagh, were revealed earlier this week. They include shifting commissioning from genres to two key editorial pillars (“Make Me Think” and “Make Me Laugh”), as well as committing 20% of the projected £30 million budget to short form projects.

“BBC Three is unique and I feel privileged to lead it in these exciting ‘digital’ times”, added Damian Kavanagh. “We look forward to making people laugh and think, separately, concurrently and frequently with our continued commitment to comedy, factual and drama.”