Gale, who is currently BBC commissioner for features and factual entertainment, is about to be offered the role by Five managing director of content Lisa Opie.
The position became available after incumbent director of programmes Jay Hunt agreed to become the new controller of BBC1 just months after joining Five.
Gale was an early favourite for the role because of his background in features and factual entertainment, genres which form the majority of Five's schedule.
His credits include The Baby Borrowers, The Real Hustle and Spendaholics.
Prior to joining the BBC, Gale was at Wall to Wall where he was series editor on geneology series Who Do You Think You Are?
He also spent five years at Lion TV making factual entertainment series for US networks.
Hunt has continued to have an active role at Five for the last four months despite handing in her notice in December.
It is understood Gale's appointment could hasten Hunt's move to the BBC.