ITV's acquisitions director stepping down

U.S. series taking on a lesser role at broadcaster

LONDON -- In the clearest signal yet that ITV is downgrading the importance of U.S. shows, the network said Tuesday that director of acquisitions Jay Kandola is stepping down in June.

In a brief statement, ITV said that 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, the executive who brought shows including "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, won't be leaving ITV until June but will not attend the Los Angeles Screenings on behalf of the network.

ITV has yet to announce its acquisitions strategy going forward, but director of television Peter Fincham is understood to be considering shutting down the acquisitions department and rolling acquisitions into ITV's digital channels portfolio, reporting to director of program strategy David Bergg. Bergg is expected to handle studio negotiations at the Los Angeles Screenings in May.

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

During her tenure at ITV she re-established ITV'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.