Jennifer Salke will remain at NBC where she had been president of entertainment since July 2011. The network has renewed Salke’s current contract, which was set to expire later this year. NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt just made the announcement in an internal memo. (you can read it below the post.)
Salke has had a very close relationship with Greenblatt, going back to the 1990s, long before he brought her over to NBC to be his top programming executive at the network. (Since 2012, Salke also has been overseeing sibling studio Universal TV.) Greenblatt himself re-upped his contract early, with his extension announced in September, just before the start of the 2015-16 TV season.
The timing of Salke’s re-signing also eliminates uncertainty, assuring that the NBC team making decisions on new series will be the one seeing these new series through. The relatively swift re-upping also may have been influenced by recent speculation about Salke’s future. That included a rumor last month — which multiple sources dismissed as completely baseless — about her possibly returning to 20th Century Fox TV where she was an EVP before joining NBC.
It has been a tough season for NBC, with no breakout new series. The network’s bold move to try to reinvigorate Thursday night with an all-drama lineup is not paying off so far. And comedy continues to be an uphill battle for NBC, something other networks also are struggling with.
“We all know the many challenges in front of us, and I’m very happy she will continue to lead the charge on the scripted front – and I know all of our producers and writers, such as Dick Wolf and Mark Burnett, feel the same way,” Greenblatt said in the email to the NBC staff.
Since Salke joined NBC, the network has launched The Blacklist, the top new drama series last season, and Wolf’s potent Chicago Fire franchise, which is eyeing a second spinoff for next season. (Salke also oversaw the launch of supernatural drama Grimm.) NBC has two scripted project with The Voice and Celebrity Apprentice executive producer Burnett, mega-mini A.D. and supernatural pilot Unveiled. At 20th TV, Salke shepherded such series as Modern Family, Glee, Bones and Prison Break.
There are encouraging signs early in the pilot season, with NBC landing some of the most sought after actors. Drama Blindspot is toplined by Jaimie Alexander and Sullivan Stapleton, while drama Endgame recruited Wesley Snipes and Philip Winchester.
With help from Sunday Night Football, reality series The Voice and The Blacklist, NBC mounted a ratings runaround last season from No. 4 to No.1 as the network finished at the top of the adults 18-49 ratings for the 2013-14 season, its first win in a decade. This season NBC carried the Super Bowl, which will boost its season average to offset any weaknesses on the entertainment side.
Here is Greenblatt’s note to staff:
I’m pleased to share the news that we’ve renewed Jennifer Salke as President of NBC Entertainment. I know she’s committed to her incredibly hard-working staff and is as dedicated as anyone here to making sure we maintain our strong leadership position among the broadcast networks. We all know the many challenges in front of us, and I’m very happy she will continue to lead the charge on the scripted front – and I know all of our producers and writers, such as Dick Wolf and Mark Burnett, feel the same way.
Please join me in congratulating her.