TV chief quits, but denies a clash

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The Independent Online
Janet Street-Porter's premature departure from the Mirror Group's L!ve TV cable television station was confirmed yesterday but both sides insisted it was not prompted by a personality clash.

The woman responsible for such innovative television as Network 7 on Channel 4 and the Def II youth strand on BBC2 still has 12 months of a two-year contract, worth pounds 300,000, to run. Sources suggest she will leave the Mirror Group with pounds 100,000 to pounds 150,000.

Ms Street-Porter, who left the BBC in autumn to launch L!ve TV in June, said in a statement: "For almost a year I have lived and breathed L!ve TV. Now that it? is successfully up and running I wish to move on to fresh challenges." David Montgomery, chief executive of the Mirror Group, added: "Janet has done a terrific job for us at L!ve TV. I look upon her as a friend and wish her every success for the future."

While the Mirror Group said Ms Street-Porter's departure was not due to any personality clashes, her working relationship with Kelvin Mackenzie, the former Sun editor who heads the Mirror Group's overall television interests, was known to be less than happy.

Colleagues said they disagreed on how the station should evolve. Ms Street-Porter, who would regularly remind people that she reported to Mr Montgomery and not Mr Mackenzie, billed the station as the Hello! of the airwaves. Mr Mackenzie favoured a tabloid approach, with more emphasis on sports coverage. The conflict appeared to come to a head last week, when Mr Mackenzie secured secondary rights to the Rugby League World Cup. Ms Street-Porter was said by colleagues to be "incandescent".

Three weeks ago at the Edinburgh Television Festival she attacked the "M" people: "middle-class, middle-brow, middle-aged and male" executives who, she said, ran British television. Although the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 were named, many interpreted at part of her speech as veiled criticism of her own employers.