Paul Telegdy Lifts The Lid On Comcast/Sky, Entertainment Challenges, Fake News & ‘Shark Tank’ Envy – Edinburgh


NBC reality chief Paul Telegdy has stated that Comcast acquiring Sky would be a “great thing” that would lead to further collaboration between the European pay-TV giant and the Hollywood studio.

Telegdy gave his thoughts on the drawn out mega-merger at the Edinburgh International TV Festival, where he was giving the Worldview Address. He also opened up about range of topics including the future of shiny floor studio entertainment shows, fake news and how he is trying to find his own version of Shark Tank.

Telegdy, who is President, Alternative and Reality Group, NBC Entertainment, said the Sky/Comcast/21st Century Fox story was “still being written”. But he added, “NBC Universal was acquired by Comcast in 2011 and the experience of being integrated into Comcast [meant] getting management and leadership that really wanted to invest and wasn’t managing us in decline but wanted to dive in and pile in. We found we were part of a great company so if this goes through I think it will be a good thing for everyone involved. What I think it would lead to is what we all crave, more collaboration internationally and working with more partners in the UK so I think it’d be a great thing.”

Highlighting recent Amy Poehler-fronted series Making It, which was picked up for a second season, and drama This Is Us, Telegdy pointed to the positive nature of NBC’s slate. “All of our shows seem to have this very upbeat feel to them, it’s unapologetic. When you come to the UK and people are cynical about the tone of some of these shows. Why are we relentlessly positive? Because there are so many people being relentlessly negative and it’s worked over decades.”

He admitted there were challenges in finding the next big entertainment show – known as shiny floor formats in the UK and covering a range of genres from dance through to singing contests – partly because the audience has become more demanding. “The big shiny floor shows, which are huge economic and ratings engines for ITV, NBC and on a global basis, those franchises that have cast such a long shadow on the business, the audience is demanding more and rightly so. Shiny floor isn’t dead, it still counts for millions of viewers but the new ones are being held to a higher standard of accountability and that’s a challenge that networks, program makers have been working on over the years. There will be something great that pops.”

The former BBC Worldwide exec, who was part of the team that sold Dancing With The Stars to ABC, added that Shark Tank was one of the shows from a rival network that he would love to have on NBC and that it was looking for its own take on that genre. He added that it was looking for more shows with a similar tone to Who Do You Think You Are?

One thing that NBC, one-time home of Donald Trump’s The Apprentice, won’t stand for is fakery. “If anyone at our company was profiting from fake news, they’d encounter an army of people working against them. In the case of our unscripted shows, we won’t make any shows that we wouldn’t be proud to have a close family member appearing or working on,” he said.

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