Garth Ancier exiting BBC Worldwide America

9:28 AM PST 11/19/2009 by Nellie Andreeva, AP

Leaves in March after three years as president

Garth Ancier is stepping down as president of BBC Worldwide America after three years.

Ancier, who will exit in March, will continue to be associated with the company in a consulting capacity as nonexecutive director and remain a member of the BBC Worldwide America board.

There is no word on his replacement, with a search in its initial stages, but the ranks of BBC Worldwide America include former BBC Fiction controller Jane Tranter, who was one of the most prominent TV executives in Europe before coming to run BBC Worldwide America's production arm under Ancier a year ago.

"Garth has simply transformed our business in the U.S.," BBC Worldwide CEO John Smith said. "His impeccable experience, wise counsel and astute business sense, combined with genuine enthusiasm for the BBC brand, have taken us to a new level."

Among Ancier's accomplishments BBC Worldwide listed in the announcement of his departure are increasing BBC Worldwide America's profit by 78%, expanding BBC America's distribution to 65 million homes, introducing such mainstream U.K. hits as "Torchwood" and "Primeval," launching BBC World News America and BBC America HD, prepping next year's launch of the preschool channel CBeebies and getting the company's product on digital platforms.

"We have achieved a great deal over the past three years, but now feels the right time to transition to a new role where I can really help BBC Worldwide shape its strategy," Ancier said.

Still, despite its growth in the past three years, BBC America is yet to branch out beyond a niche following.

Additionally, the company's production arm has failed to field a successful series in the past three years. Its lone hit, "Dancing With the Stars," launched in 2005, before Ancier's arrival at BBC Worldwide America.

Leaving the top executive post was said to be Ancier's decision.

During his career, he rarely has stayed in one place for long. Ancier served as the first president of programming at Fox, then took on the same responsibilities at another fledging network, the WB. His resume also includes stints at NBC -- where he had a rocky tenure as entertainment president -- Turner Broadcasting and a second tour at the WB.
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