The favoured external candidate is understood to be Steve Morrison, director of television at Granada, whose experience spans a wide range of popular programming. Roger Laughton, the former senior BBC executive, now managing director of Meridian, yesterday confirmed that he had not applied, nor had he been approached.
Ms Street-Porter is not universally respected by BBC programme makers, some of whom point to her lack of mainstream hit programmes. Bobby Davro: Public Enemy Number 1, an embarrassing people show discontinued after its Saturday night autumn debut last year, came from her department, as did the axed Style Trial.
Her defenders respect her creativity and forthrightness. Her main responsibility since joining the BBC six years ago has been to devise youth programmes such as the Rough Guides series and Reportage, and this has denied her access to prime time, they say.
Ms Street-Porter has been noticeably diplomatic in recent months: when Michael Grade attacked the governors last August she was quick to defend them.
Meanwhile, ITV is showing signs of potential strain. Andrew Quinn, chief executive of the ITV network, told a London dinner that the programme budget for next year had to be agreed.
He also raised the question of whether ITV should continue to be bound by the requirement to have 65 per cent of its output specially made for it, a costly provision, arising from the Broadcasting Act intended to safeguard quality. He said the percentage could easily drop to 50 per cent.Reuse content