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BBC Worldwide poaches ABC exec

BBC Worldwide Australia & New Zealand has tapped Australian pubcaster the ABC to find a new director of television.

Natalie Edgar, currently ABC1’s deputy controller, takes up the role to replace Deirdre Brennan, who is going the other way to join ABC as kids TV controller next year.

Edgar will oversee editorial for BBCWW Australia and NZ, commissioning and acquiring programming for the BBC’s channels, which include Australia channels such as BBC Knowledge, CBeebies and BBC UKTV (fka UKTV) and New Zealand nets such BBC World News.

She will also oversee BBCWW Australia and New Zealand’s new format production partnership with FremantleMedia.

An aside to her role will see Edgar heading up BBC First, the new BBC-branded premium entertainment channel the UK pubcaster as its first major undertaking since it ended a 50-year programming partnership with the ABC and partnered with pay TV platform Foxtel.

“It’s such an exciting time to be joining with the launch of BBC First next year and I’m looking forward to bringing more great British content to audiences in Australia and New Zealand,” said Edgar.

She starts her new role in mid-January. Her experience includes roles at TV1, two years in the UK with Discovery Communications and a programme manager role at Turner Broadcasting in Australia before joining ABC in 2007. She has been deputy controller of ABC1 for the past three-and-a-half years.

Jon Penn, managing director of BBC Worldwide Australia and New Zealand, said: “Natalie’s passion for content and her first-class editorial experience will ensure our television business is in the best possible hands, as we launch a premium BBC channel and raise our game in content production.”

Edgar’s hire comes two months after Penn announced a new top team including Blair McQuade as chief commercial officer, Irene Read as head of sales and Brennan as director of content, though she is now leaving at the end of the month.