Pakosta will oversee both development and current programming for Netflix’s slate of scripted comedy series including adult animation and live-action family comedies. Pakosta will also oversee the stand-up and comedy formats team. (Unlike the drama department, which has been split between Jinny Howe, head of drama, development and Renate Radford, head of drama, current, Netflix’s comedy department is combining development and current under Pakosta.)
Pakosta emerged as the leading candidate for the job when it became vacant last month following the exit of Jane Wiseman. That is because she is a veteran comedy executive and has worked for Bajaria. Additionally, there has been uncertainty at NBC following the recent restructuring that included the exit of NBC Entertainment chairman Paul Telegdy and the arrival of Susan Rovner as Chairman, Entertainment Content for NBCUniversal’s Television and Streaming division, which includes the broadcast network. Rover is expected to unveil her top executive team shortly.
Netflix comedy veteran Andy Weil, who served as interim Head of Comedy, is staying on and will report to Pakosta. Bajaria and Pakosta previously hired him as VP Comedy at Universal TV where Bajaria was president and Pakosta head of comedy.
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“Tracey is a seasoned and talented creative executive with a true passion for comedy, a sharp wit and a great sensibility for what makes audiences laugh. She and I have known each other for many years and I’m thrilled to have her join our original series team at Netflix as Head of Comedy,” Bajaria said.
Pakosta had been at NBCUniversal since 2011. She started as EVP and Head of Comedy for Universal Television, working under then-Universal TV president Bajaria, before being recruited to run the comedy department at the network in 2015. She and NBC head of drama Lisa Katz were elevated to Co-Presidents, Scripted Programming for NBC Entertainment in 2018. During her time at NBC, Pakosta developed The Good Place and Superstore as well as A.P. Bio, which is now at Peacock.
Prior to her role at NBC, Pakosta was EVP Comedy at Universal Television where she oversaw the development of such series as Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
Before joining NBCU, Pakosta was a partner at Green Mountain West, Craig Ferguson’s production company based at CBS Studios. Prior to that, she spent more than a decade at The WB where she rose through the ranks to EVP Comedy Development and developed Reba, What I Like About You and The Jamie Kennedy Experiment.
“I’ve spent many hours watching as a fan, and now I am incredibly excited to join Bela and the Netflix original series team,” Pakosta said. “Comedy is my favorite playground, and I can’t wait to partner with all of the like-minded creators to make people laugh — we really need it!”
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