After months of speculation, veteran CBS/CBS TV Studios executive Bela Bajaria has closed a deal to join NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt’s new executive team as EVP of Universal Media Studios. She will run NBC’s production arm, accelerating its re-establishment as a stand-alone entity after it was folded into the NBC network three years ago. Bajaria will take up her post in mid-August, reporting to Greenblatt. “I am delighted that we have lured an executive of Bela’s breadth and experience to run UMS with me,” Greenblatt said. “I worked with her in several capacities — most notably, she was my network executive when I produced the Elvis miniseries for CBS — and I’ve always admired her creative instincts, her unbridled enthusiasm, and her skills as both a buyer and a seller. She is the breath of fresh air we need as we start to reorganize UMS into a studio that will continue to produce series for NBC as well as the other networks.” Bajaria is the second CBS/Showtime executive to join Greenblatt at NBC since his no-poaching clause following his July 2010 exit from Showtime expired. Last week, longtime Showtime PR chief Richard Licata took over the same post at NBC.
Bajaria currently serves as SVP Cable Programming for CBS TV Studios, and SVP of Movies and Miniseries for the CBS network. She has been running CBS TV Studios’ cable division since its creation four years ago, shepherding a number of projects, including the A&E series The Cleaner and Common Law, which was recently picked up to series by USA. She also has developed several projects for Showtime, working closely with Greenblatt while he ran the pay cable network. Bajaria’s current slate includes two projects for Showtime: a docu-comedy from Glenn Gordon Caron and Andrew Gurland and one-hour drama Panic Boys, written by Roberto Benabib and starring Anthony Edwards and Mark Ruffalo. Bajaria has run CBS’ longform division for the past 10 years, including oversight of the long-running Hallmark Hall of Fame franchise.