Bennett said he 'couldn't turn it down'
Ahead of BBC Three’s proposed move to an online-only platform – a move that is designed to save a great deal of money for the BBC – the channel’s boss, Zai Bennett, has left the corporation to work with Sky Atlantic, purveyors of high quality drama, like Game of Thrones and Mad Men.
"I've hugely enjoyed working at BBC Three, but this felt like an opportunity I couldn't turn down,” explained Bennett, who joined them in 2011. "I leave BBC Three on top form, with its highest ever viewing share and six nominations at this year's Baftas,” he added.
"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."
During his time at BBC 3, the channel put out some warmly received comedies, like Jack Whitehall’s Bad Education. The recent decision to move the BBC’s youthful arm online didn’t go down well with the stars that prospered on it, with Whitehall, Matt Lucas and Russell Howard all voicing their concern. Bennett, though, has moved from what seems to be a flagging channel to the U.K equivalent of HBO, which as any TV aficionado would tell you, is the zenith of the medium.
Bennett will be working with Sky Atalantic, who show Game of Thrones in the U.K
BBC Director of Television Danny Cohen said: "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."
Sky's director of entertainment channels Stuart Murphy, also a previous BBC Three controller, said: "Having admired his work for many years, it's just great to now have him on the same team. Zai has huge experience in commercial TV and his innate desire to welcome and support creative risk is a perfect fit for Sky."
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The film is expected to continue without Mendes' involvement.