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Scannell Named President, BBC America Worldwide

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Former Nickelodeon chief Herb Scannell is taking the reins at BBC Worldwide America, effective immediately.

Scannell is stepping in for Garth Ancier, who in November announced that he was leaving BBCA after a three-year stint at the network. Ancier retained his role as a non-executive director.

In his new role, Scannell will oversee the flagship cable channel BBC America, as well as its hi-def simulcast BBC America HD. He’ll also have oversight over stateside ad sales and distribution, plus BBC’s global production arm and the website BBC.com.

BBCA is currently available in about 67 million households. Per SNL Kagan data, the network last year took in $41.9 million in net ad sales revenue, down 10 percent from $46.8 million in 2008. (BBCA took issue with the 2008 Kagan estimate, suggesting that the $46.8 million figure was grossly inflated. Per the network, last year’s ad sales actually marked a 20 percent improvement from the prior-year take.)

In May, BBCA improved its prime time deliveries 30 percent to 146,000 viewers. More than half (76,000) of those nightly visitors were members of the 18-49 demo. The channel’s biggest draw is its original sci-fi series, Doctor Who.

Most recently, Scannell served as CEO of Next New Networks, a digital media studio he founded in 2006. He remains on the company’s board. Before that venture, he was the vice chairman of MTV Networks and president of Nickelodeon.

He began his career at MTV Networks in 1988, as director of programming, Nickelodeon. There, he helped lead the channel to become the top-rated destination for kids, launching landmark shows like Rugrats, Ren & Stimpy and Clarissa Explains It All.

“I’ve been associated with innovative brands and businesses throughout my career, and there’s none more innovative in television than the BBC,” Scannell said. “It’s a world renowned brand with a great portfolio of businesses in the U.S. that have tremendous prospects.”