Jane Root, the former controller of BBC Two, has quit her job running the Discovery Channel in the US, sparking speculation that she could be in the running to lead BBC One.
Mark Thompson, the BBC director general, and Jana Bennett, head of BBC Vision, have been searching for a new BBC One controller since Peter Fincham resigned over a trailer shown at a press conference which appeared to show the Queen storming out of a photo shoot when she was in fact walking into it. The BBC is believed to have drawn up a shortlist for the post, which includes Ms Root; the head of BBC drama, Jane Tranter, and the BBC Knowledge deputy controller, Emma Swain.
It is thought that many senior executives were put off by the intense scrutiny the post invites.
Ms Root left the BBC three years ago to take up the role of president and general manager of the Discovery Channel and the Science Channel. She had been controller of BBC Two for five years.
If she does get the BBC One job, she will not be the first former Discovery executive to do so. Ms Bennett also did a three-year stint as executive vice-president and general manager of Discovery Communications.
It is not the first time that Ms Root's name has been linked to the BBC One controller post. In 2005, she was mentioned in connection with the job, but it went instead to Mr Fincham.