Granada is gearing up to make sweeping changes to its production structure as part of a further attempt to streamline its internal management.

Newly appointed Granada Content managing director Simon Shaps is

Granada is gearing up to make sweeping changes to its production structure as part of a further attempt to streamline its internal management.

Newly appointed Granada Content managing director Simon Shaps is expected to announce a new structure over the next few weeks, which insiders say will see the individual director of programmes roles at each franchise replaced with a new system of genre heads.

Each head will control programming within his or her specified genre - such as factual, entertainment or drama - from all Granada franchises.

In addition to simplifying the company's operations, the changes are intended to simplify the process of selling Granada's programmes internationally, as each genre head will become an ambassador for his programming, as tipped by Broadcast (9.6.00).

Directors of programmes such as John Whiston at Yorkshire Tyne Tees and Grant Mansfield at Granada TV are expected to secure two of the new roles, which could see them controlling drama and factual respectively. It is unclear who will take charge of other genres.

Doubts have been raised over the future of LWT and United Productions as a separate brand following the restructure. The division, headed by managing director John Willis, produces a range of drama, factual and entertainment programming.

LWT and United Productions director of programmes Marcus Plantin has been tipped as a possible entertainment genre head. He already has an international entertainment brief.

It is unclear how other LWT and United Productions executives, such as controller of factual entertainment, formats and daytime Malcolm Allsop, would be affected by the restructure. There are no directors of programmes at Meridian or Anglia.

The plan follows the recent announcement by Granada chairman Charles Allen that the company was looking to save£20m by 2003 as a result of the downturn in advertising and the increasing cost of On Digital. Granada shareholders were this week reported to be concerned by On Digital's struggling performance.

A number of different structures have been tabled since Granada bought United News & Media's TV assets last August. Despite some redundancies following the merger, Granada is still seen as having an overly complex management structure split between its six franchises.

In one plan tabled since the merger the firm would have split northern and southern operations.