BBC Drama Head Polly Hill Jumps to Commercial Competitor ITV

Courtesy of BBC
Polly Hill

Hill's credits at the BBC include 'Wolf Hall,' 'The Night Manager' and 'War and Peace.'

In a major coup for British commercial broadcaster ITV, Polly Hill, controller of drama commissioning at the BBC, has joined ITV as its new head of drama.

Hill is one of the most highly regarded TV execs in Britain. Under her leadership, the BBC greenlighted such projects at the Golden Globe-winning (and multiple Emmy-nominated) Wolf Hall and acclaimed John le Carre adaptation The Night Manager starring Tom Hiddelston. ITV is reported to have doubled Hill's BBC salary in an effort to lure her away from the public broadcaster. She replaces Steve November, who stepped down last week.

“After 11 years at the BBC I am proud to be leaving it at the top of its game,” Hill said Friday in a statement. “ITV has always played a vital part in the landscape of British drama and shows such as Cracker, Prime Suspect and Band of Gold had a huge influence on me and the drama I wanted to make. I am proud to be joining ITV and will lead the drama department into its next exciting chapter, making the very best popular drama, which will feel original, distinctive and authored.”

Hill's appointment is part of a creative overhaul at ITV.  The network on Friday also appointed Sue Murphy, a managing director at Optomen, which produces reality shows including Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares, as head of factual entertainment. ITV Studios' Siobhan "Shu" Green, who brings with her experience producing The X Factor and X Factor USA for Simon Cowell’s Syco TV, will be ITV's new head of entertainment, and Peter Davey has been promoted in-house to the head of comedy entertainment post.

Angela Jain will succeed Greene as managing director of ITV Studios Entertainment and Rosemary Newell, currently a senior vp at Discovery Networks International, will take over Jain's job as ITV's head of digital channels and acquisitions.

“A channel’s programming is only as good as the choices the commissioning teams make, and so it is vital to have the best people possible in these crucial positions. I'm delighted to announce that Polly, Sue, Shu, Peter and Rosemary will be joining imminently to lead the programming team through the next phase of ITV's output,” ITV director of television Kevin Lygo said in a statement. “Each of them bring a blend of passion and experience to the roles, and I'm confident that as a team we can continue to build on the raft of shows that help to make ITV Britain's most popular commercial channel.”