Two months after NBCUnivesal Cable Entertainment consolidated its scripted operations under Syfy’s Bill McGoldrick — who was named EVP Scripted Content for the portfolio including USA, Syfy, E! and Bravo — he has set his team. The moves include new expanded scripted roles for his former two lieutenants at USA Network, Alex Sepiol and Michael Sluchan. Sepiol is being upped to EVP Scripted Development for the portfolio, while SVP Current Scripted Programming Sluchan will oversee current. Additionally, former USA head of alternative Heather Olander, whom McGoldrick brought with him to Syfy in the same role, will now oversee unscripted programming for both networks, reporting to McGoldrick.
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Under the new structure, Sepiol and his team — all of whom will work across the entire portfolio — will take in pitches and evaluate scripted projects that come through the door, recommending which network would be best suited for them. The decision will then be made by McGoldrick, NBC Cable Entertainment president and chief content officer Jeff Wachtel and chairman Bonnie Hammer. The idea is to create a “one-stop shop,” an easy entry point for creators and agents, and give their projects the best possible shot of getting and staying on the air. The group is expected to make an aggressive push for top scripted series and ramp up scripted programming on E! and Bravo, which only recently entered the space.
Sepiol, a USA veteran, has been responsible for some of the network’s biggest hits. He brought in Burn Notice as a pitch, and new breakout Mr. Robot as a spec. He also brought in and developed two other signature USA series, White Collar and Suits. McGoldrick has had a close relationship with Sepiol whom he has known for decade and a half. Sepiol joined USA in summer 2001 as assistant to Wachtel. After a brief hiatus, Sepiol rejoined the network in 2004 and was upped to VP in 2009 and SVP in 2011.
Sluchan is a 16-year USA veteran, having joined the network as creative executive, long form programming, in October 1999. In 2005, he moved over to the original series arena as director, original scripted programming. He was promoted to VP Original Scripted Programming a year later and SVP and head of current for the network in 2013.
Before moving to Syfy in 2014, Olander shepherded USA’s entry into the unscripted space, developing and launching breakout hit Chrisley Knows Best.
In the months since the consolidation of NBCU Cable Entertainment’s scripted units was announced, as McGoldrick was assembling his team, some scripted executives at the individual networks opted to leave, including USA EVP Jackie de Crinis, who signed an overall deal at UCP; Bravo’s Andrew Wang, who joined Viola Davis’ production company; and E!’s Kevin Plunkett.
Here is McGoldrick’s memo to staff:
As the industry continues to evolve, it’s essential that our approach to how we create great content also evolves. We need to be quick and nimble to identify the right project for the right network at the right time without redundancy. To that end, I’d like to share with you some news about my new organizational structure.
As you know, several years ago Bonnie Hammer named Jeff Wachtel our Chief Content Officer. This commitment to content was followed in February by the announcement of my new role, reporting to Jeff, overseeing all original scripted content for the portfolio, including USA, Syfy, E! and Bravo. Now, having had the past two months to thoughtfully evaluate and consider the next step, I’m announcing today that all scripted development and current scripted programming will be led by two terrific executives reporting to me:
Alex Sepiol will become, EVP, Scripted Development for the portfolio. Alex has been instrumental in the development and success of “Mr. Robot” first bringing the award-winning series as a spec script to the network. During his tenure at USA he shepherded signature series “Suits” and “White Collar” among others. Alex has a talent for identifying shows that connect with today’s audiences and stand out on their own to push brand boundaries.
As SVP, Current Scripted Programming, Michael Sluchan will now head up all current scripted programming for the portfolio, Michael’s contributions over the last 17 years span critic and fan favorites “Monk,” “Royal Pains” and “The Starter Wife.” His efforts have helped to propel USA’s critically acclaimed programming slate.
Also, Heather Olander, SVP, Alternative Programming will now oversee alternative for USA in addition to Syfy, reporting to me. Heather is a great talent with high energy and tenacity. For the last couple of years, she has been focused on growing Syfy’s unscripted programming slate. Much like me, this expanded role brings Heather back to USA where she first introduced unscripted programming and launched the network into the reality space with “Chrisley Knows Best.”
Change can be a challenge at times but is essential for our continued growth and success. I thank you in advance for your unwavering support and commitment. And please join me in congratulating Alex, Michael and Heather on their new expanded roles.
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