Cohen’s appointment comes after an open recruitment process and marks the final addition to new director general Tony Hall’s senior management team at the new look UK pubcaster. The role was previously known as director of vision.
Roger Mosey, who helmed the BBC’s critically acclaimed Olympics coverage, has been in the role on an interim basis since previous incumbent George Entwistle left to take up his ill-fated stint as director general. Entwistle resigned after just 54 days – the shortest run in the pubcaster’s history – and former Royal Opera House CEO Hall was subsequently handed the top job.
Cohen will sit on the BBC executive and management boards and oversee the BBC’s four key channels, BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Three and BBC Four; streaming service BBC iPlayer; online BBC content; drama, comedy, knowledge (factual) and comedy; BBC Films; the BBC archive; and European producer BBC Productions.
The appointment marks a rapid rise for Cohen, who had been controller of BBC One since 2010 and previously ran youth-skewed net BBC Three and Channel 4 diginet E4. he began his career at indie Diverse. Since taking the BBC One job, he has commissioned series such as Call The Midwife, The Voice and Ripper Street.
Director general Hall said: “Danny Cohen has been the driving force behind an extremely successful period in BBC One’s history. Key to his success has been an ability to provide viewers with a mixture of high quality programmes they enjoy whilst also introducing them to new subjects they might not have considered before. I am looking forward to seeing his impressive mix of creativity and vision being put to great effect across the whole of the BBC Television portfolio.”
Danny Cohen said: “I’m honoured to be taking over as director of BBC Television. Our ambition is to be the finest broadcaster and producer in the world and our values will be based on talent, creativity, storytelling and innovation. I’ve had a wonderful time at BBC One and am grateful for the work of all the talented people who have made the channel the most popular in the UK in recent years.”
Cohen begins his new role on May 7 and be paid a total yearly package of £327,800 (US$500,000).