BBC Three Controller Zai Bennett is leaving the corporation for a new role as Director of Sky Atlantic.
“Zai has been a fantastic Controller of BBC Three and has led the channel to great success, in terms of quality, awards and audience performance. He’s a true gentleman and I will miss working with him.” – BBC Director of Television, Danny Cohen
The news of Bennett’s departure follows the recent announcement the channel, which launched in 2003, was to close its television broadcasts in autumn 2015, and be replaced with a reduced online service.
Having joined the BBC in 2011, Zai Bennett has been responsible for both critical and audience successes, including seeing BBC Three reach its all-time highest 16–34 share and for stand out shows including the BAFTA award-winning The Revolution Will Be Televised, The Call Centre, Life And Death Row, Tough Young Teachers and record comedy hits Bad Education and Cuckoo, as well as comprehensive seasons of programming on crime and punishment and mental health.
“I’ve hugely enjoyed working at BBC Three, but this felt like an opportunity I couldn’t turn down. I leave BBC Three on top form with its highest ever viewing share and six nominations at this year’s BAFTAs. I will miss working with the outstanding channel and commissioning teams, the BBC is lucky to be home to some of the most creative and inspiring people in television and it’s been a privilege to learn from them in my time here.” – Zai Bennett
BSkyB say that Sky Atlantic is about world class television, exploring new worlds, digging deep into characters with fantastic stories told by the world’s best. The channel shows a large amount of imported drama such as Game of Thrones, The Following and Mad Men.