NBC Entertainment continues to cement its new leadership team following the departure of Bob Greenblatt. The company announced today that Universal Television Alternative Studio head Meredith Ahr has been promoted to President, Alternative and Reality Group, NBC Entertainment.
In her new post, the 17-year NBC vet will oversee all aspects of unscripted programming at the network, Universal Television Alternative Studio and first-run syndication, which includes Access Hollywood and the recently announced daytime series, The Kelly Clarkson Show. The role, which reports to NBC Co-Chairmen George Cheeks and Paul Telegdy, encompasses development, production, business affairs (Lee Straus, EVP, Business Affairs, Alternative and Specials will have a dotted line into Ahr), sales strategy, casting and talent development for the group.
“In just two short years, Meredith has built a studio from the ground up and expanded her already indelible impact on NBCUniversal via the genre-defining alternative content she has personally overseen,” Cheeks and Telegdy said. “There is no one better suited to take the baton and run with this role. Meredith will continue to set the industry standard for world-class unscripted programming both domestically and abroad.”
With oversight of both the studio and network, Ahr will have greater purview over the launch and ongoing strategy for Universal Television Alternative Studio’s high-profile projects for NBC in 2019. This includes big-swinging physical competition series The Titan Games with Dwayne Johnson and the songwriting competition format Songland. She will also lead the team that oversees some of the network’s biggest hits, including America’s Got Talent, Ellen’s Game of Games, American Ninja Warrior and The Voice.
“There has never been a better time to create content that celebrates and reflects the unpredictable stories of real people,” said Ahr. “The opportunity to nurture the best and most innovative formats and ideas, regardless of studio, network, platform or daypart – all around the globe – is a dream job that I’m energized to share with the brilliant producers, talent and executives who partner with us.”
Most recently, Ahr was President of Universal Television Alternative Studio, a role she took on in 2016 to launch and build the then-nascent studio. Under her leadership, the studio has produced a number of global hit formats across a diverse slate of unscripted genres, including World of Dance with Jennifer Lopez, The Wall, Hollywood Game Night, and this summer’s critically-acclaimed crafting competition series “Making It” with Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman. The studio has also spread its wings domestically, producing “In Search Of” with Zachary Quinto for History, as well as other projects for broadcast, cable, first-run syndication and digital platforms.
Ahr’s career at NBC began in 2001 when she joined the network as a Page in New York. Her roles ranged from seating audiences at “Saturday Night Live” to working in the office of the chairman. She made her way to Los Angeles in 2004 via the NBC Entertainment Associates Program, where she was placed in the relatively new Alternative Programming division. Less than two years later, and after supporting over a dozen series and specials, Ahr developed the first edition of America’s Got Talent with Simon Cowell, a format that has since been recognized as the most successful reality TV format in the world.
Prior to her role at Universal Television Alternative Studio, Ahr served as Executive Vice President of Alternative Programming for NBC, where she spearheaded a diverse programming slate of some of the network’s biggest hits, including The Voice and America’s Got Talent, American Ninja Warrior, Running Wild With Bear Grylls, Little Big Shots, The Celebrity Apprentice, The Biggest Loser, Last Comic Standing and Who Do You Think You Are?