Phil Harris To Depart Channel 4 After Four Years As Head Of Entertainment

EXCLUSIVE: Channel 4 entertainment boss Phil Harris is exiting the broadcaster after four years in post.

Harris is leaving at the end of this year to launch his own production company. His place will be taken temporarily by I Literally Just Told You and Don’t Look Down commissioning editor Steve Handley, who will report to progams boss Ian Katz and has been with Channel 4 for five years.

Harris joined Channel 4 in 2019 from Britain’s Got Talent indie Thames, where he was Creative Director. He has commissioned the likes of Late Night Lycett, Paddy McGuinness format Tempting Fortune and Prince Andrew: The Musical during his tenure.

Katz said he has “presided over a purple patch for C4 entertainment, delivering a host of hugely original new shows, helping to launch the careers of some of the most exciting new talents in the industry, and racking up so many awards we’ve had to get a bigger mantlepiece.”

Harris said it has been the “greatest honour to spend four special years at Channel 4 but I am looking forward to my next step.” “I’m really proud of the broad range of returning brands we have now in entertainment and know Steve will do a fabulous job progressing the department into a new era,” he added.

Prior to Channel 4, Harris spent two years at Thames, producing The Greatest Dancer and Eating with my Ex. Past credits include Celebs Go Dating and Saturday Night Takeaway. Little is known about his new venture.

The news comes at a tricky time for Channel 4, which has been on an unofficial commissioning slowdown for several months. Producers have in part laid the blame at the foot of big entertainment bets such as Rise and Fall and Scared of the Dark for the slowdown, along with sports right spend, although Channel 4 has stressed that it commissioned lots of shows out of Covid-19 and is grappling with the ad recession in a similar vein to its commercial broadcasting rivals.r


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