Jeff Ford leaves TV3 for Fox role in London

Content director who introduced ‘Red Rock’ and ‘Late Lunch Live’ will depart in April

TV3 Group's director of content Jeff Ford is leaving the broadcaster to take up the position of general manager at Fox International Channels UK, which is based near his home in London.

Ford, who joined TV3 in early 2013, said family commitments were a part of his decision to return to the UK.

“It is with great sadness that I leave TV3,” he said in a statement. “It’s been a wonderful period and now is such an exciting time for the group with so many impressive plans in the schedule for 2015 and beyond.”

He added that he had “always intended” to leave by the end of 2015, but the arrival of his first grandchild in January had brought forward his plans.

TV3 Group chief executive David McRedmond thanked Ford for his “massive contribution” to the company, which included a greater focus on home-produced content.

In his time at TV3, Mr Ford made changes to the daytime schedule, pursued new game show co-productions – utilising TV3's new Sony HD Studio – and commissioned the soap opera Red Rock.

Mr McRedmond said TV3's 2015 schedule, which was launched under the tagline "New Dawn", was "performing ahead of plan" in the year to date. The broadcaster lost two of its most-watched shows, soaps Coronation Street and Emmerdale, to UTV Ireland at the start of the year.

TV3's latest move to offset the loss of UK soap viewers to its new rival is to promote Late Lunch Live, originally introduced by Mr Ford, to an evening slot. It will be renamed The 7 O'Clock Show and will continue to be hosted by Martin King and Lucy Kennedy.

Mr McRedmond said TV3 had “a whole new generation of managers and programme-makers coming through the ranks”, with the result that its programming team was the strongest it has been in its near 17-year history.

He said TV3 was at an “advanced” stage in finding a replacement for Mr Ford and hoped to confirm an appointment by March.

Mr Ford joined TV3 two years ago, shortly after resigning as director of programmes at UK broadcaster Channel 5. TV3's previous director of content, Ben Frow, was subsequently hired by Channel 5 to replace Ford.