BBC Studios to hire commercial genre heads

Mark Linsey wants three commercially-minded executives to oversee the core programme genres at BBC Studios, the BBC’s new production arm.

Mark LinseyHe will hire directors of scripted, factual, and entertainment and events to run those genres at BBC Studios, the new division at the UK pubcaster that came into being at the end of April.

A number of top-ranking execs, all of whom come from a production background, have left since Studios went live ahead of the reorganisation, which was announced internally yesterday.

Linsey, director of BBC Studios (pictured), has in effect reversed the structure Peter Salmon had put in place before announcing he was exiting to become Endemol Shine Group’s chief creative officer.

It is understood Linsey believes there are too many layers of creative leadership at the BBC, and that the new business-minded genre chiefs will help various groups of producers – which he describes internally as “families” – to thrive while creating more commercially-viable content.

“Mark wants to free up creatives who are supported by executives with strong business backgrounds,” the BBC told TBI.

BBC Studios was designed to replace BBC Productions following a root-and-branch review by BBC director general Tony Hall. Its establishment is thought to be the first part of a plan to commercialise the production.

Plans have already been outlined to eventually allow the BBC to produce programming for rival broadcasters, in exchange for a larger proportion of BBC commissions going to indies and rival producers.

However, the studio has been beset with problems, with various executives leaving as uncertainly over the pubcaster’s future spreads.

This all comes as the British Conservative government increasingly pressurises the BBC to cut costs and change its operating structure.