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Tuesday, 25 September, 2001, 10:19 GMT 11:19 UK
'Reality TV' unit denied by BBC
Popstars
Conrad Green produced the ITV hit Popstars
The BBC has denied that it is setting up a "reality TV" department after speculation about the imminent appointment of Popstars producer Conrad Green to the corporation.

There had been reports that Mr Green would head a new department dedicated to factual entertainment programmes.

An announcement about Mr Green, 31, is widely expected on Wednesday but a BBC spokeswoman said that no agreement had yet been reached with him.

"Alan Yentob is talking to him but we haven't made a final agreement with him.

"We are not setting up a reality TV department," said the spokeswoman, who added that any appointment would be to the BBC's Drama, Entertainment and Children's department.

New ideas

But the appointment of Mr Green might be seen as controversial after recent criticisms that the BBC is too reliant on factual entertainment programmes.

Mr Green produced the first two series of Big Brother for Channel 4, as well as Popstars for ITV.

A report in The Guardian said that Mr Green would be given a wide-ranging brief to develop new programme ideas across all analogue and digital television channels - with priority given to developing light entertainment formats to sustain BBC One's lead in the Saturday night ratings battle.

But the new BBC chairman Gavyn Davies has already signalled a move away from too heavy a reliance on factual entertainment programming.

Writing in the Observer, Mr Davies said: "These programmes, which I suppose you can call semi-factual programmes, have become too significant in the schedules."

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