Street-Porter to head cable TV channel

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The Independent Online
JANET Street-Porter's long quest to secure one of the most senior posts at the BBC ended yesterday with the announcement that she was leaving the corporation after six years to head the Mirror Group's new television channel, Live TV.

Ms Street-Porter, who takes over as managing director of the national cable channel next month, said: 'I wanted to start a channel from scratch editorially. What's always driven me is writing new formats and creating new types of programming. This is a really good opportunity to do that.'

David Montgomery, chief executive of the Mirror Group, which also owns a 28 per cent stake in the Independent, added that 'her skill in identifying and inspiring talent will provide dynamic leadership'.

After initial training as an architect, Ms Street-Porter moved into television in 1975. She was a presenter on current affairs and magazine shows, such as Saturday Night People and The London Weekend Show.

In 1980, she turned producer, creating youth and children's programmes for ITV and Channel 4. Her biggest hit, Network 7, the two- hour weekly current affairs series on Channel 4 that became a prototype for a whole genre of information programmes, earned her a Bafta for originality and a job at the BBC.

There she was responsible for devising the twice- weekly youth strand DEF II on BBC 2, which included the speedy, sub-Network 7 current affairs series Reportage and the electronic scrapbook Rough Guide travel and careers shows.

Supporters at the BBC, who included John Birt, saw her as talented, fun and 'an enabler' who got things done. By 1991, Ms Street- Porter's title had been expanded to head of youth and entertainment features.

Despite the evident regard in which she was held, Ms Street-Porter was passed over for two of the corporation's most senior jobs. Alan Yentob pipped her for the controllership of BBC 1 and Michael Jackson edged her out to become controller of BBC 2. In what was widely seen as a sideways move in January this year, she was appointed head of independent production for BBC TV's entertainment group.

Ms Street-Porter admitted being disappointed at missing out on the controller posts, but said she was leaving the BBC on good terms. 'When I didn't get the BBC job, I decided I wanted to take my career forward and this is the chance to do it. When I created Network 7, I became obsessed with what you could achieve live.'

Sir David Nicholas, former chairman and chief executive of ITN, has been appointed consulting editor of Associated Newspapers' 24- hour cable televsion news station Channel One, which is due to go on air on November 30.

Cilla Black, presenter of Blind Date, has signed a new two-year, seven-figure deal with ITV, making her television's top earner.