BBC Worldwide profits up 40%

Commercial division achieves record profits of $200 mil

LONDON -- The BBC's commercial division BBC Worldwide looks set for a record year with profits in the region of £140 million ($201 million) in 2009/10, according to BBC director general Mark Thompson.

Driven by format hits like "Top Gear" and "Strictly Come Dancing," a burgeoning global channels business and global TV hits like "Doctor Who," Worldwide's profits are up almost 40% on last year.

The division, which operates BBC America and produces "Dancing With the Stars" recently hired AMC drama executive Vlad Wolynetz to work with L.A.-based Jane Tranter to build up its drama production business stateside.

Thompson talked up Worldwide's performance while delivering a speech at Chatham House, ahead of full publication of the division's results at the beginning of July.

Reps for the BBC said Thompson was giving "indicative figures."
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