Beeb's Pickard takes ITV hot seat

NIGEL Pickard, from Frittenden, near Headcorn, has been hired to improve the fortunes of the troubled ITV television network.

Mr Pickard, a former boss of the Maidstone Studios, is to leave his job as head of children's programmes at the BBC for the £400,000 a year job as director of programming at ITV Network Centre.

He replaces David Liddiment. Other senior industry figures turned down the job following a steep decline in viewing figures and advertising revenues.

Martin Jackson, the Hawkhurst-based media expert and a former colleague of Mr Pickard's at the Maidstone Studios welcomed it as: "An inspired choice."

The appointment came as Carlton and Granada announced their proposed merger, subject to approval by the Office of Fair Trading and the Competition Commission.

The two media giants believe they will make substantial cost savings by merging to create a single ITV company to challenge theBBC and BSkyB.

Meanwhile, Mr Jackson has become the first chairman of the new Wired Kent campaign to turn the county into a centre of media excellence.

Business Link Kent, of Kings Hill, West Malling, is spearheading the campaign which is backed by the South East England Development Agency. Wired Sussex was set up some time ago.

It also plans to develop the M20 corridor into a hub of media activity.

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