Conflicts of Interest

Talent/Agent Owned Independent Production Companies

Potential conflicts of interest can also arise where an independent production company is owned by an on-air presenter or performer or their agent, or where they are part of the senior management of an independent production company. 

Under no circumstances can BBC programmes be used to promote the commercial interests of talent or their agents. To avoid such potential conflicts the following principles should be observed: 

  • Agent owned production companies, should not be commissioned to produce factual programmes about the talent they represent unless there is clear editorial justification
  • Talent owned production companies should not be commissioned to make BBC factual programmes where the talent is the subject matter of the programme or is featured in any significant way.

In  exceptional circumstances, where there is clear editorial justification and where the programme and its subject cannot be commissioned unless it is produced with the associated agent or talent-owned independent, the proposal  should be referred to the Director Editorial Policy and Standards. If the commission is agreed by the Director Editorial Policy and Standards, the commissioning team should ensure objectivity is achieved by means of:

  • Putting in place thorough executive production on behalf of the BBC
  • Ensuring there is an active BBC role in all stages of the programme's production, from research to the final edit

When commissioning teams receive proposals for factual programmes concerning BBC talent from another genre (for example, a factual commission about a sports personality), they should seek advice on any connections between the independent producer and talent which could provide an editorial conflict of interest.

It may be possible for some entertainment, comedy and factual entertainment shows to be commissioned from agent or talent owned production companies where the Talent is to be used as the presenter, star of the show or regular contributor.

Such proposals must be approved in advance by the relevant Head of Department and Editorial Policy at an early stage

All such arrangements must ensure that:

  • the BBC maintains total editorial control over all stages of production
  • commissioning teams actively review guests and their associated products featured on agent-owned or talent-owned independent productions
  • guests from associated talent agencies are always editorially justified
  •  records are kept of all guests on programmes produced by agents or talent owned indies and checked with the agent's client-list to ensure editorial independence and avoid a cumulative promotional effect