NBC has hired a new chief deal negotiator. Veteran MTV networks executive George Cheeks has been named EVP, Business Operations, NBC Entertainment and Universal Television. While his title and responsibilities are not exactly the same, Cheeks is envisioned as a replacement for NBC veteran Marc Graboff, who left the company at the end of last year to run American Idol parent company CKX. Cheeks, who will oversee Business Affairs, Music Services and Production Operations for NBC and studio Universal TV, currently serves as EVP, Business Affairs and General Counsel, Viacom Music and Entertainment Groups, Content Distribution & Marketing and Head of Standards & Practices for Viacom Media Networks. He will start at NBC in the fall, following the conclusion of his contractual commitment with Viacom. “George is the consummate entertainment business executive who has successfully overseen virtually all aspects of television,” said NBC chairman Robert Greenblatt, to whom Cheeks will report. “His vast experience, acumen and positive industry contacts will prove to be invaluable as we move forward to achieve our new goals at NBC.”
Cheeks began his career as an Entertainment Associate at Loeb & Loeb from 1992-94. In addition, he served as Senior Counsel, Business and Legal Affairs, for Castle Rock Entertainment from 1995-97 and worked as an entertainment attorney at the boutique entertainment firm of Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren & Richman, in Beverly Hills from 1997-98.
In 1998, Cheeks relocated to New York where he began working as Senior Counsel for MTV Networks in the Business and Legal Affairs Department for the Nickelodeon Group; he later became a VP and SVP/Deputy General Counsel there. In December 2002, he was promoted to SVP, Business Affairs and General Counsel of MTV, MTV2, MTVu and MTV Films. In January 2005, Cheeks again was elevated to EVP and General Counsel for MTV, MTV2, MTVu, MTV Films, VH1, CMT and LOGO. In 2007, Cheeks became EVP, Business Affairs and Co-General Counsel, MTV Networks and was promoted to his current position last year.