Jay Hunt (television executive)

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Jay Hunt
Born Jacqueline Leigh Hunt
(1967-01-20) 20 January 1967 (age 47)
Sydney, Australia
Occupation Television executive
Title Chief Creative Officer, Channel 4
Predecessor New creation
Successor Incumbent
Spouse(s) Ian Blandford
Children 1 son, 1 daughter

Jacqueline Leigh "Jay" Hunt (born 20 January 1967[1]) is an Australian-born British television executive.

Since January 2011, she has been the Chief Creative Officer of Channel 4.[2] She has previously served as Director of Programmes at Channel 5, and as Controller of BBC One. Under her leadership, Channel 4 was named Channel of the Year at the 2014 Edinburgh International Television Festival.[3]

Early life[edit]

Hunt was born in Sydney, Australia, and lived in Pittsburgh and Crete before moving permanently to London. Hunt's father John is Emeritus Professor of Organisational Behaviour at the London Business School. Her sister is Kristina Murrin who presented for the BBC.

Hunt was educated at the independent Lady Eleanor Holles School in Hampton, West London, followed by St John's College at the University of Cambridge, where she read English.[4]

Career[edit]

Hunt joined the BBC in 1989 as a researcher, working on BBC Breakfast News. She went on to work on Newsnight and Panorama, subsequently becoming editor of the BBC's One O'Clock News and the Six O'Clock News. She led outside broadcast teams to cover the handover of Hong Kong to China and the first multiracial elections in South Africa.

Hunt became BBC Birmingham's Executive Producer for Daytime in 2002, being promoted to Senior Commissioning Executive for Daytime in 2003 and then Controller of BBC Daytime and Early Peak with responsibility for programming across both BBC One and BBC Two between 9am and 7pm. In this role, she commissioned Great British Menu, Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is, The Heirhunters, Missing.

Hunt left the BBC for eight months in 2007, to replace Dan Chambers as Controller of Programmes for Five,[5] from where she poached Natasha Kaplinsky from the BBC.[6] At Five, she commissioned Cowboy Builders, Extreme Fishing with Robson Green, Police Interceptors, Breaking into Tesco and Britain's Best Home.

On 3 December 2007 it was announced that she would be returning to the BBC to take up the vacant post of Controller of BBC One in early 2008, replacing the resigning Peter Fincham following criticism over the handling of A Year with the Queen.[7] She worked her notice at five until April 2008 before returning to the BBC as Controller, BBC One. In 2009 Hunt was accused of a conflict of interest after it was revealed she was secretary of a production company owned by her husband which had a contract with the BBC. The BBC said this did not breach their conflict of interest policy.[8]

In 2008 and 2009 BBC One won MGEITF Terrestrial Channel of the Year. At BBC One her commissions included Sherlock, Mrs Brown's Boys, Criminal Justice, Five Daughters, Bang goes the Theory, The Day the Immigrants Left and Famous, Rich and Homeless. She also commissioned Michael McIntyre's and John Bishop's first network shows.

In September 2010, Channel 4 announced Hunt's appointment to the new post of Chief Creative Officer. Immediately placed on "gardening leave" from the BBC, she joined Channel 4 in January 2011. While on leave, Hunt was a witness at the employment tribunal of former-Countryfile presenter Miriam O'Reilly, who accused Hunt of ageism and sexism.[9] In January 2011, the day after Hunt began working at Channel 4, O'Reilly's claims for age discrimination and victimisation were upheld but the sexism claim was dismissed.[10] As part of her strategy to improve the quality of Channel 4 News, from spring 2011 Hunt hired Matt Frei (Washington), Jackie Long (Social Affairs) and Michael Crick (Political Correspondent) from the BBC.

At Channel 4 she commissioned Utopia, The Mill, Southcliffe, Educating Yorkshire, Gogglebox, The Undateables, Run and George Clarke's Amazing Spaces. She acquired Homeland, Fargo and the French zombie drama, The Returned and as well as leading the team that delivered the BAFTA award winning coverage of the London 2012 Paralympics.

In February 2013 she was assessed as one of the 100 most powerful women in the United Kingdom by Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4.[11]

In 2014 Channel 4 dominated the RTS TV awards, picking up 9 awards, and retained News Programme of the Year the RTS journalism awards. The channel also received more BAFTA nominations than at any time in its history with 31 across Channel 4 and E4. Channel 4 won 8 BAFTAS in 2014. At the British Soap Awards it also won Best Soap for Hollyoaks for the first time in its history.

Personal life[edit]

In June 2005 Hunt married Ian Blandford, a former BBC News employee who now works for the BBC College of Journalism and runs Brightspark TV. They have a son and daughter and live in Clapham.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Jay Hunt: Has Channel 4 boss gone too far with 'Benefits Street'". The Independent. 10 January 2014. Retrieved 1 September 2014. 
  2. ^ "Channel 4 picks Jay Hunt for top job". Channel 4. 14 September 2010. Retrieved 7 November 2010. 
  3. ^ "Channel 4 wins channel of the year at Edinburgh TV festival". The Guardian. 23 August 2014. Retrieved 1 September 2014. 
  4. ^ "Interview with Jay Hunt: Time to put the fun back in Five". The Guardian. 12 November 2007. Retrieved 5 February 2009. 
  5. ^ "Jay Hunt is new Five director". Press Gazette. 2007-05-31. Retrieved 2009-08-05. 
  6. ^ Quentin Letts (2009-08-05). "Lean-lipped, humourless, the killer kitten who is steering Auntie on to the rocks". London: Daily Mail. Retrieved 2009-08-05. 
  7. ^ Holmwood, Leigh (2009-12-03). "Hunt facing baptism of fire". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-08-05. 
  8. ^ http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23727061-details/No+BBC+probe+over+Jay+Hunt's+media+company+involvement/article.do
  9. ^ Deans, Jason (5 November 2010). "Former BBC1 controller dropped older presenters 'because she hated women'". London: The Guardian, 5 November 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-07. 
  10. ^ Plunkett, John (11 January 2011). "Countryfile's Miriam O'Reilly wins BBC ageism claim". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 11 January 2011. 
  11. ^ BBC Radio 4, Woman's Hour Power list

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by
Peter Fincham
Controller of
BBC One

2008-2010
Succeeded by
Danny Cohen