EXCLUSIVE: After months of speculation, its official: Showtime’s long-time PR head Richard Licata is following his former boss Robert Greenblatt to NBC. Licata has been named to the newly created post of EVP Communications for NBC Entertainment, reporting to Entertainment Chairman Greenblatt. He is expected to start in September. There has been a lot of chatter that Greenblatt would bring close associates from CBS/Showtime to NBC after the no-poaching clause in his deal expired this month. While Licata is the only one with a deal in place, there also have been rumblings about CBS TV Studios’ development executive Bela Bajaria possibly getting a job at UMS. In his new position, Licata will be responsible for the strategic creative development and execution of all programming and media relations initiatives for NBC and Universal Media Studios. In addition to overseeing program publicity, talent relations, photography, events, and awards campaigns, Licata will serve as NBC Entertainment’s chief press officer, responsible for press outreach and relations pertaining to industry issues and public affairs. He will work closely with veteran executive Rebecca Marks, EVP Press and Publicity, who will continue to head day-to-day operations for NBC and UMS.
This marks Licata’s third tour of duty with Greenblatt following tenures together at Showtime and Fox for a total of about two decades. Licata comes to NBC after a seven-year stint as EVP Corporate Communications at Showtime, where he oversaw the successful launch campaigns for Showtime’s original series Nurse Jackie, United States of Tara, The Tudors, Weeds, Dexter, Californication, The Borgias, The Big C, Shameless, Episodes, Brotherhood, Tracey Ullman’s State of the Union, The L Word, and the upcoming Homeland. Under Greenblatt, Licata also orchestrated the pay cable network’s image transformation as well as the awards campaigns that netted Showtime’s series Emmy, Golden Globe, Peabody and SAG awards and Humanitas prizes. “After having worked closely with Rich twice before at networks that were in challenging transitions, I’m so pleased he will be joining NBC as we look to set a new course for this company,” said Greenblatt. “I don’t believe we could have orchestrated the dramatic turnaround at Showtime without him, and I know he has the skills, the showmanship, and the passion to oversee the kind of strong and multi-faceted press and public relations campaigns needed at NBC and UMS at this moment in time.” Licata first worked with Greenblatt while serving as SVP Publicity and Public Relations for Fox Broadcasting Co, where he developed the network’s publicity campaigns for The X-Files, Party of Five, King of the Hill, The Simpsons, Melrose Place and Beverly Hills, 90210, among others. In 1997, Licata was a producer of the Emmy-nominated HBO film Gia, which catapulted Angelina Jolie to stardom. Licata began his TV publicity career at HBO as VP Media Relations/West Coast. His resume also includes a stint as EVP, Television and Digital Media at Rogers & Cowan.