BBC exec prepping drama unit in U.S.

Jane Tranter in talks to head new L.A.-based division

LONDON -- The U.K.'s most influential drama executive could be headed to Los Angeles.

BBC drama chief Jane Tranter is in talks to move stateside and spearhead a new BBC Worldwide West Coast drama production division in the new year.

Tranter, the executive who brought "Doctor Who," "Life on Mars," "Spooks" and "Cranford" to BBC screens, is understood to be in discussion with BBC bosses over the move, which would put her atop a new stateside production arm that would likely run the BBC commercial division's drama and entertainment operations.

The BBC declined comment on the move beyond pointing to a statement earlier this summer when Tranter said she had "no immediate plans to go and work in the U.S."

But while a move is unlikely before next year, negotiations are well advanced. Tranter is understood to have been offered a number of U.S. jobs, including a position at HBO, but is now putting together a blueprint to stay with the BBC and develop major dramas for the U.S. market.

Tranter would work with BBC Worldwide director of content and production Wayne Garvie, who has produced hits like "Dancing With the Stars" for ABC.

She also is understood to be keen to manage the process of making sure her successor is in place before leaving the U.K. BBC Wales drama head Julie Gardner is one possibility, though there also is a chance that Gardner may move to the U.S to work with Tranter in Los Angeles.

Other possibilities include BBC Films exec Christine Langan though the BBC also is considering splitting Tranter's all-encompassing drama role into three smaller areas.

Soft-spoken and widely liked, Tranter has been responsible for commissioning drama across the BBC's major channels as well as a range of high-profile international co-productions.

She has worked with screenwriters including Stephen Poliakoff, Andrew Davies and Russell T. Davis and worked with HBO on the lavish costume drama "Rome" as well as the recent adaptation of David Hare's stage play "My Zinc Bed" starring Uma Thurman.

She was short-listed for the job of BBC1 controller -- later taken by Peter Fincham -- but ultimately ruled herself out, preferring to retain the drama portfolio.