Main buyer to depart in ITV shuffle

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In the clearest signal to date that ITV is downgrading the importance of U.S. series, the U.K. network said Wednesday that director of acquisitions Jay Kandola will step down in June.

ITV said Kandola will depart "as part of ITV's restructuring program," adding that "her departure comes as a result of acquisitions playing a lesser role on ITV in the coming years."

Kandola — who brought such shows as "Lost," "Desperate Housewives," "Six Feet Under," "The West Wing" and "House" to U.K. audiences during her tenure at the BBC, Channel 4 and Five — will not attend next month's L.A. Screenings on behalf of ITV.

The network has not announced its acquisitions strategy going forward, but director of television Peter Fincham is understood to be considering shutting down the department and rolling acquisitions into ITV's digital-channels portfolio, with the unit reporting to director of program strategy David Bergg. Bergg is expected to handle studio negotiations at the L.A. Screenings.

Kandola was regarded as a key hire for ITV when brought on board in 2006 by then-director of television Simon Shaps. She previously was head of acquisitions at Five and, before that, deputy head of acquisitions at Channel 4.

At ITV, she re-established the network's profile as a major buyer, inking deals with the major studios and buying "Pushing Daisies" for core network ITV1 as well as "Gossip Girl," "Swing Town" and "Bionic Woman" for ITV's digital networks. (partialdiff)
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