Channel 5 picks London News md as chief

Channel 5 Broadcasting has appointed Ian Ritchie as chief executive – the first senior management appointment in the countdown to launching Channel 5 in just over 12 months time.

Ritchie, who is managing director of the Carlton/LWT joint news venture London News Network, is expected to take up his position early in the new year. He replaces Greg Dyke who oversaw the bid.

There was growing speculation that Channel 4 controller of arts and entertainment Dawn Airey would be named Channel 5’s director of programmes, as Marketing Week went to press.

However, a Channel 5 spokesman insists that this – along with the identity of the channel’s director of sales – was still unconfirmed.

Nick Milligan, sales director of UK Gold/UK Living is emerging as firm favourite for the top Channel 5 airtime sales role.

Virgin Television has yet to decide whether to pursue a judicial review of the award of Channel 5 to Channel 5 Broadcasting. Virgin has written to the Independent Television Commission because it believes Channel 5 Broadcasting was allowed to enhance its financial backing after the bids were submitted.

Channel 5’s new sales director will be joining a rush of TV stations looking to employ airtime sales personnel. In addition to Channel 5, Granada’s yet-to-be launched cable channel, Granada Gold, and the Sci-Fi channel are trying to recruit airtime sales teams.

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