British newspaper The Times reports today, Friday, that ITV's main rivals (BSkyB, Channel 4 and Five) are uniting in opposition to the expected appointment of former UK media regulatory boss Stephen Carter to the soon-to-be-vacant ceo role at the UK's largest commercial broadcaster.

It is, of course, coincidence that this unconfirmed report appears in The Times which, like BskyB, is controlled by Clan Murdoch. Could it be that the clan are less than euphoric at the possibility - some say probability - of Carter's appointment [WAMN: 03-Aug-06]?

None of the alleged opponent are prepared to state their views in public but, according to The Times, all are concerned that Carter in his former regulatory role was privy to much highly sensitive information about their respective businesses.

Says a 'senior source': "There is certainly a concern. We not only routinely share business plans with the regulator, but on occasion we would personally brief Stephen Carter about our plans."

Since July 21 Carter has been the odds-on favourite for the senior role at ITV where he would replace incumbent Charles Allen, whose resignation is expected next week when the company announces its interim results.

It is likely the dissident broadcasters will lobby Ofcom's part-time chairman Lord David Currie to extend Carter's current 'gardening leave' by a further six months - a move that would effectively make his accession to the ITV throne impossible.

Meantime, industry cynics point to the terms and conditions of Carter's employment at Ofcom which barred him from soliciting other employment offers until August 1. In view of this, say the sceptics, he couldn't possibly be a candidate.

Could he?

Data sourced from The Times Online (UK); additional content by WARC staff