Danny Cohen is set to be unveiled as the BBC’s new director of television, Broadcast understands.
The BBC1 controller is on the brink of being announced as George Entwistle’s ultimate successor and will be one of the final pieces in director general Tony Hall’s senior management jigsaw.
Broadcast has previously reported that Cohen was in a two-horse race for the post with BBC North director Peter Salmon and both candidates were interviewed by Hall, Alan Yentob and HR director Lucy Adams last week.
Opinion has been split internally on who will land the role, with both seen as strong contenders. The calibre of external candidates is not entirely clear, but names including ITV director of television Peter Fincham were touted as potential prospects.
Former BBC London 2012 boss Roger Mosey has been the acting director of television since August last year, but did not apply to take the position on full-time and is understood to have been lined up for another position internally.
He was covering for Entwistle, who had been elevated to director general, but only managed 54 days in the top job after he was caught up in the Jimmy Savile scandal last year. The disruption has been the main factor in the delayed appointment of a permanent director of television.
Six year rise
It marks a six-year rise to the top of the BBC television tree for Cohen. He joined the broadcaster from Channel 4 in 2007 as the controller of BBC3 and took on the BBC1 role in October 2010.
During his time at the station, he has commissioned hits including Call the Midwife and Last Tango in Halifax, as well as taken creative risks on formats, such as The Voice.
Cohen also reaped the benefits of the London Olympics, where BBC1 pulled in some of the biggest audiences in its history. Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony alone peaked with more than 28m viewers.
Meanwhile at BBC3, Cohen was responsible for factual hits Our War and Junior Doctors.
Hall’s top team
Hall now has his top team in place as he seeks to steady a ship still reeling from the Savile affair. The director general appointed former Times editor James Harding last week as BBC director of news and current affairs, while Helen Boaden was shifted across to oversee radio output.
James Purnell has also been hired as director of strategy and digital and C4’s Anne Bulford will become managing director, finance and operations.
A BBC spokesman declined to comment.