I’ve always thought it so unfortunate that people describe the place by its acronym NUTS. But after a week of rumors about her exiting altogether, I’m told NBC Entertainment executive vp Katherine Pope is the new president of NBC Universal TV Studio (replacing Angela Bromstad who’ll be placed elsewhere). “There’s white smoke at NUTS tonight,” said my source, riffing on her name. For months, the word was NBC and NUTS would merge, and not merge, and merge, until finally last week it was decided that the network and studio should remain separate. Pope had been working at NUTS until she was brought into NBC as chief development executive but also to referee between her new boss, network entertainment prez Kevin Reilly, and her old boss, NUTS chief Angela Bromstad. Problem was that Reilly and Bromstad hated each other from Day One. Adding to the recent confusion was that, in an expected merging of the network and studio, Pope was considered a shoo-in to take charge of the combined development team. But then the merger wasn’t on. Word was she’d asked to be let out of her contract by June 1st for a slew of politically astute reasons. Some think that would have been a loss on grounds she’s liked by execs, writers and agents all over town. Others were hoping she’s really leave this time (apparently she frequently threatens to quit), and consider her to be a drama queen. (I’m told her lieutenant Shelley McCrory, NBC U TV Studio’s comedy chief, Shelley McCrory, did quit.) Though Reilly gets the credit, it was Pope who godmothered NBC’s hit Heroes because of her long association with creator Tim Kring. Of course, as Reilly’s closest colleague, she had no idea that Jeff Zucker was bringing in Ben Silverman. Now she’s got everyone by the NUTS, and Teri Weinberg is the newly named exec vp of NBC Entertainment. I’m told to stay tuned for fireworks. As one TV honcho told me: “If you think Bromstad and Reilly, two genuinely decent people, couldn’t get along, wait until you see Weinberg and Pope battle for supremacy. Not enough oxygen in Burbank for that one…”
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