Jay Hunt will step down from the role of Chief Creative Officer at UK public service broadcaster Channel 4 at the end of September after almost seven years leading the broadcaster’s creative strategy and programme commissioning, the broadcaster has announced. Channel 4 is currently seeking a replacement for Chief Executive, David Abraham, and it is understood that Hunt’s candidacy is not being progressed, and that she may have withdrawn from the process over concerns at a Conservative party General Election manifesto pledge to move the broadcaster out of London.
A final decision on Abraham’s replacement is understood to be tabled at a Channel 4 board meeting next week. A Channel 4 executive has told the FT that the Conservatives’ manifesto commitment to moving the broadcaster out of the capital had changed Hunt’s mind about taking the job.
Since joining in January 2011, Hunt has led a successful creative renewal of the corporation’s on-screen output, commissioning a wide range of successful and critically acclaimed new returning series across a range of genres. In the last three years, Channel 4 has been named the Edinburgh TV Festival and Broadcast Channel of the Year four times; with E4 named Digital Channel of the Year twice, and All4 named best Digital Platform.
Hunt said: “I’ve loved being at Channel 4 and am incredibly proud of how far we have come creatively. From the multiple Channel of the Year awards to the raft of global hits, we’ve had real success. I’ve been lucky to have a superlative boss in David Abraham and to have been supported by the best commissioning team in the business. I also owe a huge thank you to the brilliant producers, directors, writers and on screen talent who’ve made it such a thrilling time to be at the helm.”
“I will continue in post till the end of September and am looking forward to Channel 4 delivering not just an exciting summer of sport but the richest autumn schedule we’ve ever had with big shows from the Great British Bake Off to Electric Dreams. It’ll be business as usual until October,” she declared. “Channel 4 is a unique and special place. I’ve really enjoyed leading this phase of its creative renewal and I’ll be cheering the new leadership team on from afar.”
“Jay took on one of the biggest challenges in broadcasting back in 2011 and through immense creativity, courage and determination has delivered magnificently,” said Abraham. “In recent years, the delivery of our remit and our creative output has reached new heights and both I, the staff of Channel 4 and the whole industry owe Jay huge thanks for all she has achieved.”
Channel 4 Chair, Charles Gurassa, said that Hunt had made an “outstanding and unique” contribution to Channel 4. “Under her leadership, the Channel has re-established itself as a creative powerhouse; innovative, imaginative and risk taking. My colleagues and I are hugely grateful for all she has achieved and wish her every success in her next venture,” he added.
Before joining Channel 4, Hunt was Controller, BBC One. Hunt initially joined the BBC in 1989. In 1994 she moved to Newsnight as output editor and filmmaker and then to Panorama. In 1999 she was made editor of One O’Clock News before going on to edit the Six O’Clock News. In 2005, Hunt became Controller of BBC Daytime.
Hunt also worked as Director of Programmes at Five in 2007 before returning to the BBC in 2008.