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BBC

BBC Director General Resigns: ‘The Honourable Thing to Do’

The BBC’s director general George Entwhistle resigned today after just 54 days on the job. The resignation comes a week after a report on the BBC’s premiere news program “Newsnight” which falsely implicated a former politician in a child abuse scandal. A statement from Entwhistle outside the BBC’s headquarters in London:

In the light of the fact that the director general is also the editor in chief and ultimately responsible for all content, and in the light of the unacceptable journalistic standards of the Newsnight film broadcast on Friday 2 November, I have decided that the honourable thing to do is to step down from the post of director general.

Entwistle, who took over for Mark Thompson who is the new CEO of The New York Times, has also had to deal with controversy over the investigation into former BBC presenter Jimmy Savile, who may have abused as many as 300 people over a 40-year-period. In that case “Newsnight” is accused of withholding a story on the matter.

Appearing at Entwhistle’s side during his public statement, BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten said, “This is undoubtedly one of the saddest evenings of my public life.”

BBC Reporter Has The Gall To Report What Queen Elizabeth Told Him

A BBC reporter has apologized to Buckingham Palace after reporting something that Queen Elizabeth II told him. In the United Kingdom, unlike the U.S., the Queen is not supposed to have any political opinions. She told the reporter, Frank Gardner, that she was “pretty upset” about a radical Islamic cleric, and wondered whether there wasn’t some grounds to arrest the cleric or not.

The New York Times reports on the fallout:

It is considered a shocking breach of etiquette to reveal what, if anything, the queen tells you, especially when it comes to political views, which she is technically not supposed to have. The BBC immediately issued an abject apology, saying that the correspondent, Frank Gardner, was completely out of line.

“The conversation should have remained private, and the BBC and Frank deeply regret this breach of confidence,” the broadcaster said in a statement.

“It was wholly inappropriate. Frank is extremely sorry for the embarrassment caused and has apologized to the palace.”

George Entwistle Tapped to Lead The BBC

The BBC has found its new director general. The UK public broadcaster has named George Entwistle to the post, which is being vacated by Mark Thompson in September.

Entwistle is currently the director of BBC Vision, a unit which oversees the commission, production, scheduling and broadcasting of new TV programs. In his new role, Entwistle will oversee all of the BBC’s global operations, including international cable news channel BBC World News, as well as serving as the liaison to the beeb’s for-profit U.S. units BBC America and BBC.com.

The BBC has one of the largest TV news divisions in the world, with channels across the U.K. and around the globe.

Thompson announced his departure in March, sparking furious speculation about his replacement. he has been rumored as a possible candidate for CEO of the New York Times.

Survey: CNN International Most Watched English-Language News Channel In The Middle East

The latest EMS Middle East survey, which tracks TV viewership across eight Middle Eastern states and 13 cities, shows that CNN International is the top English-language news channel in the region, topping Al Jazeera English and BBC World News. Al Jazeera’s main Arabic-language network is the most watched news channel overall in the region.

The survey shows that CNNI reached 33.4% of surveyed households in a given month and 21.3% in a given week. By comparison, Al Jazeera English reaches 15.5% of households per month, and 10.5% per week. BBC World news reaches 13% and 9.2%, respectively.

The BBC noted in a statement that it did top CNN in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, however. The BBC was tops overall in Bahrain, the UAE and Kuwait.

Most parts of the world–including the Middle East–do not have a company like Nielsen to track TV ratings. As a result surveys such as the EMS Middle East carry greater weight than they would here in the U.S.

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Watch Out Sam Champion And Al Roker, The New Weather Anchor Is a Royal

Viewers of the BBC News in Scotland received quite a surprise today. The regular weather anchor took a break, and instead the forecast was delivered a by a special guest: The Prince of Wales himself, Prince Charles.

WATCH:

Prince Charles was visiting the TV station as part of a tour during Holyrood Week. BBC Scotland was celebrating 60 years of broadcasting, and the Prince was game to help celebrate on-air.

As for “Good Morning America’”s Sam Champion and “Today’”s Al Roker: watch out guys, you may have some competition from across the pond.

BBC Chief Mark Thompson Stepping Down

The director general of the BBC, Mark Thompson, is stepping down later this year following the London Olympics and the Queen’s Jubilee. In an email to staff, Thompson announced his decision and saluted employees.

“We’ve weathered a series of lively storms and been through some trying, as well as some very successful, times together,” Thompson wrote. Thompson has been the longest-serving director general of the public broadcaster since the 1970′s.

The director general of the BBC is one of the most powerful media positions in the world, let alone the U.K. Thompson oversaw a suite of radio stations and TV networks in the U.K., as well as BBC News. The British broadcaster also has an ownership stake in dozens of channels and media outlets across the world, including BBC World News and BBC America.

Helen Boaden, the BBC’s news chief, is considered among the candidates to replace Thompson.

BBC World News Inks Pivotal U.S. Deal

One of the world’s most widely-distributed cable news channels is finally getting some major distribution in the U.S. BBC World News, the 24-hour international cable channel owned by the BBC, has inked a deal with Comcast–the country’s largest cable provider–to place it in most of the cable company’s major markets. By the end of 2012 BBC World News will be available in 15 million U.S. homes.

BBC World News is available in some 300 million homes around the world, and is the home of the dedicated U.S. nightly newscast “BBC World News America.”

The New York TimesBrian Stelter has more:

While that represents just a fraction of the 100 million American homes with cable or satellite subscriptions, it is an important foothold for the BBC, which wants to meet a perceived need for impartial international news.

The way some at the BBC see the television world, Fox News and MSNBC are occupying partisan poles; CNN is struggling to choose between substance and sensationalism; and another foreign import to the United States, Al Jazeera, is tainted by its host country, Qatar.

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Former ‘CBS Evening News’ Producer Dick Meyer Tapped to lead BBC News, America

The BBC has tapped former CBS news producer and executive Dick Meyer as its executive producer of BBC News, America. Meyer was most recently executive editor of NPR, and before that led CBSNews.com. He was also a producer for the “CBS Evening News with Dan Rather.”

Meyer will be tasked with expanding the BBC’s newsgathering reach stateside, and will oversee “BBC World news America” and the U.S. edition of BBC.com/news. he begins in February.

“I am honoured and humbled by this new responsibility,” said Meyer in a statement. “The BBC is simply the greatest newsgathering operation in the world today. As American news organizations undergo difficult change, the BBC has an important role in this country and a real opportunity for growth. I am proud to have the chance to help with that important work.”

Christiane Amanpour To Anchor BBC News Program (For One Night)

The BBC World Service’s “Newshour” will have five guest-presenters (or “anchors,” as we call them stateside) the week of September 26-30.

Among the presenters will be a familiar face to many American viewers: ABC “This Week” anchor Christiane Amanpour. Amanpour will anchor “Newshour” Thursday, September 29 from New York.

The other guest hosts will include the BBC’s Jeremy Paxman, former NBC News and CBS News staffer and current French TV journalist Christine Ockrent, South African Broadcasting Corporation host Redi Tlhabi, and BBC Radio host Evan Davis.

BBC Journalist Killed by NATO in Afghanistan

NATO has acknowledged that it inadvertently killed a BBC journalist in Afghanistan. Ahmed Omed Khpulwak was shot by a U.S. soldier who believed he was suicide bomber in July.

Initial reports said that he was killed by insurgents, but a more thorough investigation confirmed that he was killed by a member of NATO’s ISAF.

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