“No Great Moral Panic” Over BBC Presenter Departures, Says Content Boss Charlotte Moore – Edinburgh TV Festival08/26/2023
There should be “no great moral panic” over the recent spate of BBC presenter exits, according to content boss Charlotte Moore.
While numerous high-paid presenters have left the BBC in recent times, including the likes of top radio host Ken Bruce, Emily Maitlis and Andrew Marr, Moore shrugged off concerns about an exodus, stating that “there is a more even relationship [between talent and the networks] than people think.”
“When someone moves on it’s not the great moral panic everyone thinks it is,” she added. “If we remember that then the balance becomes more evenly placed.”
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Presenter behavior off air has been in the spotlight of late due to the Huw Edwards and Phillip Schofield scandals and Moore revealed she has had to have conversations with both on and off-screen talent about their behavior in the past.
“There is a big gulf between what people are paid and the power that exists on any production,” she added. “We have to make sure respect at work is adhered to by everyone in this industry. It’s better to have these conversations than not have them.”
“Making fewer hours is a good thing”
Turning to the much-discussed commisioning slowdown, Moore said “making fewer hours is a good thing in today’s market with the money we have.”
The BBC instituted a ‘fewer bigger better’ approach to TV commissioning long before the license fee was frozen and cost-of-living crisis set in, and Moore said there will be no change of approach. “Quality and creative ambition is important and I want suppliers to feel they are able to deliver on that,” she said.
Moore added that her team “has to be careful about what we bring back and what new commissions we make because that mix of returners and new shows is really important.”
The BBC cut its originals budget by £100M ($126M) this year and is cutting 1,000 hours worth of shows per year for the foreseeable future.
With thousands of TV industry freelancers struggling to make ends meet, Moore said keeping an eye on commission numbers will allow these workers to be “paid properly,” coming as the corporation establishes new payment tariffs. “That’s why slimming down budgets and making everyone salami slice is not going to help anybody,” she said.
Earlier today, Channel 4‘s Ian Katz said the network has “perhaps been a bit more honest” than its rivals about the recent commissioning slowdown, coming a day after his ITV counterpart Kevin Lygo said he would not be dropping ITV’s program budget.
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