Bonnie Hammer is officially NBCUniversal‘s cable queen. Hammer, who added E! and G4 to her portfolio of USA, Syfy and Universal Cable Prods after the Comcast merger, is now taking over the combined company’s entire entertainment cable universe including Bravo, Oxygen and Style, which had been under the purview of fellow top-ranked NBCU cable executive Lauren Zalaznick. Zalaznick, whose post-merger portfolio was a hodgepodge mix of cable networks (Bravo, Style), Spanish-language broadcaster Telemundo and digital properties — red-hot Fandago and iVillage (which recently shifted to NBC News Digital) — will now take on a new role as EVP NBCUniversal, focusing on innovation, digital, monetization and emerging technology across the company. Telemundo oversight is going to former Univision Communications CEO Joe Uva, who is joining NBCUniversal as Chairman, Hispanic Enterprises and Content. NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke just outlined the restructuring in an internal email (below).
The awkward separation of NBCU’s entertainment cable assets had historic reasons. Hammer and Zalaznick originally made their mark running a cable network (Sci Fi Channel and Trio, respectively) and as they rose through the ranks, the two kept expanding their portfolios until all NBCUniversal entertainment cable nets were under the supervision of one of them. Heading into the Comcast-NBCU merger, one of Burke’s trickiest tasks was trying to keep both Hammer and Zalaznick in the company. That meant giving each some of Comcast’s cable nets — E! and G4 went to Hammer, Style to Zalaznick. But the separation of NBCU’s entertainment cable assets has made less and less sense, especially as networks on both sides were starting to move in a similar direction. For example, both E! and Bravo are entering scripted programming. And, as vast as it is, NBCU’s entertainment cable universe was getting small for two hot-shot executives. Now Burke seems to have finally found a way to keep Zalaznick in the fold while giving Hammer, who has always been considered the stronger force in cable, the reins of the company’s entire cable portfolio. In her new role, Zalaznick, a very early adopter of digital technology and the Internet, will keep oversight of digital properties Fandago and Daily Candy. The streamlining of the NBCU entertainment cable division follows similar restructurings by Burke in sports and news. Here’s the memo:
I am writing to let you know of some important changes to our organization, with the promotion of two senior executives and the addition of a third.
- Bonnie Hammer is assuming responsibility for the entire cable entertainment portfolio, which will be renamed the Cable Entertainment Group.
- Lauren Zalaznick is being named Executive Vice President, NBCUniversal, focusing on innovation, digital, monetization and emerging technology across the company.
- Joe Uva is joining NBCUniversal in the newly created role of Chairman, Hispanic Enterprises and Content.
Bonnie, Lauren and Joe will each serve on the Executive Committee and report directly to me. Bonnie and Lauren will assume their new responsibilities immediately and Joe will start with us on April 3rd .
Our business is more dynamic and challenging than at any point in its history. Now, more than ever, we need to simplify our organization and take advantage of the breadth of our assets. At the same time, we need to focus more on innovation and emerging technologies. These organization changes are designed to do just that.
Assembling our cable entertainment assets together in one group under Bonnie Hammer’s oversight is a logical and important step. Specifically, Bonnie will add Bravo, Oxygen, Style, Sprout and TV One to her current roster of businesses which includes USA Network, SyFy, E!, G4, Cloo, Chiller, Universal HD, Universal Cable Productions and Wilshire Studios. With these additions, the newly formed Cable Entertainment Group will represent approximately 50% of the company’s operating cash flow.
We have already combined our sports and news businesses and when we did, we saw enhanced collaboration, new ideas and accelerated growth. I know that with this structure Bonnie and her team will maximize the power and profitability of this portfolio. Bonnie is a natural business leader and a strong creative force. She has a terrific team, which now will be even stronger, and she has my full confidence.
As I mentioned in my note last week, we have made great progress during the first two years of the new NBCUniversal. Now that our businesses are doing better and the company is more successful financially it is time to concentrate more on innovation. This is not easy to accomplish in a large company with many lines of business. Fortunately, we have a unique executive in Lauren Zalaznick who will lead the charge. Lauren is being promoted to a new role in which she will be responsible for harnessing the power of the NBCUniversal content portfolio to drive revenue across the company, including TV Everywhere and alternative windowing strategies. Lauren also will be responsible for Symphony across the NBCUniversal properties and with Comcast, and for helping develop our strategy around consumer products.
NBCUniversal’s digital assets, Fandango and Daily Candy, will continue to report to Lauren and she will oversee our business development for digital, mobile, and social media. She also will continue to be involved with sales and marketing initiatives in the Integrated Media group, including Women At NBCU, Hispanics At NBCU, and the NBCU Digital Council.
Lauren is a superb creative executive with an excellent track record of delivering results. She loves ideas and new ways of doing things. She also is innovative, energetic and focused on growth. She is the perfect person to take on this important new role.
Joe Uva will be responsible for expanding our Hispanic franchise and all of our Hispanic content efforts, including Telemundo and mun2, as well as for increasing the presence of Hispanic news and entertainment programming across all of NBCUniversal’s networks and platforms. The NBCUniversal properties reach more than 90 percent of all Hispanics, more than any other media company, and our programming needs to be reflective of our nation’s 50 million Hispanics, the fastest-growing segment of the population. Joe will work with our news and entertainment executives so our coverage better represents this shifting landscape. Emilio Romano, President of Telemundo and mun2, and his team have done a terrific job driving success at these networks, and they now will report to Joe.
Joe is someone I have known for quite some time and he is a familiar face to many people at NBCUniversal. He most recently spent four years as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Univision Communications, Inc. and prior to that he was the President and Chief Executive Officer of OMD Worldwide Group, overseeing all of OMD’s operations. Before joining OMD, Joe spent many years at Turner as the president of Entertainment Group Sales and Marketing for Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. Joe’s experience on the operational side and in sales will be instrumental in both the success of advancing Telemundo and enhancing our prominence in the Hispanic space.
Please join me in congratulating Bonnie and Lauren and in welcoming Joe to NBCUniversal.