Airey plays the quiz shows

New ITV exec nears 12 Yard buy

ITV Prods. is poised to acquire quiz show-maker 12 Yard Prods. in a £35 million ($72 million) deal that would mark production head Dawn Airey's first acquisition since taking the helm of ITV's in-house production division, sources said Tuesday.

Airey, who took the ITV post in October, has a £200 million ($411.4 million) acquisitions fund to build up ITV's production base. The former British Sky Broadcasting head of networks has been charged by ITV executive chairman Michael Grade with upping the amount of content her division makes for ITV's own channels from about 55% to 75% of the content they air.

12 Yard, which makes long-running daytime quiz shows including "Eggheads" and "In It to Win It," would be an unusual choice for Airey because it produces the majority of its output for the BBC and was thought to be tied into a number of long-term contracts with the pubcaster.

The venture was founded in 2001 by former BBC light entertainment executive David Wood, creator of "The Weakest Link."

ITV did not return calls at press time.