Greg Dyke in job talks with Channel 4

Greg Dyke is in job talks with Channel 4, just as the station's chief executive heads to the BBC to replace him as director-general.

Mr Dyke, who was forced out of the corporation in the wake of the Hutton report, is understood to have been in negotiations with the station about "doing television programmes".

He has already had a taste of life in front of the cameras since his departure in January with a guest role presenting BBC1's satirical quiz, Have I Got News for You, broadcast in April. He was widely praised for his performance.

The Channel 4 role would be along the lines of a "light-hearted look at the news," according to one source. A separate source at Channel 4 confirmed: "Dyke has been in negotiations with us about doing television programmes."

Mark Thompson, the chief executive of Channel 4, who previously spent two decades at the BBC, was named on Friday as the director-general designate after being widely tipped for the role - even though he had initially denied any plans to move.

Mr Thompson is on a six-month notice period, but few expect him to stay at Channel 4 beyond the next two months.

His arrival at the corporation puts both the BBC's most senior positions in the hands of former Channel 4 chief executives; Michael Grade took over from Lord Ryder, the acting chairman, as chairman of the BBC governors last week.

One Channel 4 insider said of Mr Thompson's departure: "There's a lot of disappointment, although it is not exactly a shock. We've been through a lot of upheavals, but we are in a period of stability and the channel is growing and doing well." Mr Thompson has been at Channel 4 for two years. Under his stewardship the channel shed staff and cut budgets to turn around its financial losses. He closed a film division, axed the long-running soap Brookside and planned ahead for the loss of ratings winners such as Sex and the City and Friends.

The race now begins to find a replacement for Mr Thompson at Channel 4. The chairman, Luke Johnson, said that outsiders would be considered. "We will try to make the appointment as quickly as possible. It will be a relatively short list of capable people from within the media industry," Mr Johnson said.

"It needs a combination of [experience in] the media sector and a business track record. It could be someone from outside but they would have to be in tune with what Channel 4 stands for and its values. Channel 4 is unique, part private sector, part public sector."

Frontrunners for the post are Kevin Lygo, Channel 4's director of television, and Dawn Airey, the managing director of Sky Networks.

There are doubts as to whether Mr Lygo, who rejoined Channel 4 last year after a period as programme head at Five, where he championed arts and science, would want such a corporate role. But if he does have ambitions to head a channel, this would be too good a chance to miss.

Ms Airey has a strong broadcasting pedigree. She was poached by Sky from Five, where she had risen to the job of chief executive. But questions might be raised as to whether her programme instincts are too populist.

John Willis, also considered for the DG job, may be in the market for a shift from his present job as the BBC's director of factual and learning.

Mr Dyke, now writing his autobiography for HarperCollins, is expected to tell all about his run-ins with the Government. He has already made public his views with barbed comments about how he was treated. And in April he took a pot shot at the BBC's governors at the Baftas, saying he "tended to agree" with the TV writer Paul Abbot, who described them as "all small faces, no chins".

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