Comcast's NBCUniversal Shuffles Executive Ranks at Entertainment Unit -- Update
By Joe Flint
NBCUniversal has reorganized its entertainment unit and shuffled
its executive ranks as part of a consolidation effort aimed at
better positioning the company for the streaming era.
In the new structure, Comcast Corp.'s NBCUniversal is breaking
its entertainment operations into separate business and creative
units. Those units will be in charge of content creation and
distribution for NBCUniversal's various broadcast, cable and
The restructuring has been in the works for several months under
new NBCUniversal Chief Executive Jeff Shell, who is attempting to
break down the fiefdoms at NBC's various programming platforms,
including the NBC broadcast network and cable channels USA, Bravo
and E!, which all have their own distinct programming and business
NBCUniversal has filled most of the new positions in the
reorganization with current senior executives. However the head of
content for all its programming platforms hasn't been named yet.
The company is looking at internal and external candidates for what
will essentially be the role of chief content officer.
As a result of the new organizational structure, NBC broadcast
network entertainment chief Paul Telegdy is leaving the company.
Mr. Telegdy had been operating under a cloud for the last week as
NBCU launched an investigation into the culture of his unit after a
story in the Hollywood Reporter alleged a toxic and misogynistic
environment in the unit.
Mr. Telegdy declined to comment on his departure.
Moving up in the redesign of the operation is Frances Berwick,
who currently oversees the Bravo, E! and Oxygen cable networks. In
her new role, she will head the business operations and deal-making
for content across all the company's entertainment operations.
The direct-to-consumer operations of NBCUniversal, which include
its new Peacock streaming service, will continue to be overseen by
Matt Strauss. While Peacock will maintain much of its own business
operations, content acquisition and creation will be part of the
new entertainment operations under Ms. Berwick and the
soon-to-be-named content chief.
Both Mr. Strauss and Ms. Berwick will report to Mark Lazarus,
chairman of NBCUniversal Television and Streaming.
"With the power of NBC and the broadcast model, coupled with the
strong cable entertainment brands and the new addition of Peacock,
we have massive scale and a deep library of valuable content that
can live across platforms," Mr. Lazarus said in a statement.
The future of Mr. Telegdy at the company had been up in the air
prior to NBCU's investigation into his unit, people familiar with
the matter said. Mr. Shell's desire to appoint a new chief of
content over all the NBCUniversal programming operations would have
undercut his role and autonomy at the NBC network.
Mr. Telegdy has been subject of accusations by Gabrielle Union,
a former co-host of the network's "America's Got Talent" show. Ms.
Union alleged in a complaint filed in June with California's
Department of Fair Employment and Housing that he threatened her
job after she had expressed concerns about racism behind the scenes
of the hit show. NBC denied that claim.
The probe into the NBC entertainment unit will continue after
Mr. Telegdy's exit, a person familiar with the matter said.
Mr. Telegdy rose up the ranks of NBC after establishing a
successful track record developing unscripted shows. Programs he
helped develop include "The Voice," "Little Big Shots" and
"American Ninja Warrior."
NBCUniversal's entertainment operations aren't the only units
undergoing change. Earlier this year, Mr. Shell consolidated NBC's
news operations under executive Cesar Conde.
The reorganization, as well as the effect of the coronavirus on
the company's advertising and theme park, has led to dramatic cuts
throughout the company that began earlier this week.
Write to Joe Flint at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
August 06, 2020 13:23 ET (17:23 GMT)
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