NBCUniversal is making sweeping changes, restructuring its broadcast, studio and digital operations and assigning new roles to a number of the company’s top TV executives, including Bonnie Hammer, Paul Telegdy and George Cheeks.
Universal Television and Universal Content Productions will move under a single business unit named NBCUniversal Content Studios, with Bonnie Hammer at the helm. Hammer, who had been spearheading NBCU’s upcoming streaming platform Peacock as Chairman of Direct-to-Consumer and Digital Enterprises, will assume the new title of Chairman, NBCUniversal Content Studios. She will report to Steve Burke, CEO of NBCUniversal.
Matt Strauss will join NBCUniversal from Comcast as Chairman of Peacock, which launches in 2020. Strauss will also add the Digital Enterprises group to his purview, and report to Burke.
George Cheeks, Co-Chairman of NBC Entertainment, will become Vice Chairman of NBCUniversal Content Studios, reporting to Hammer. Known as a strong dealmaker, he will also continue to oversee late-night programming for NBC.
Pearlena Igbokwe and Dawn Olmstead will continue in their roles as head of Universal Television and Universal Content Productions respectively, jointly reporting to Hammer and Cheeks.
Paul Telegdy, most recently Co-Chairman of NBC Entertainment alongside Cheeks, will become the sole Chairman of NBC Entertainment, reporting to Jeff Shell, Chairman of NBCUniversal Film and Entertainment. Telegdy will also continue to oversee syndication and Universal Television Alternative Studio as Universal Television’s scripted series operation moves under Hammer.
Mark Lazarus continues as Chairman of NBCUniversal Broadcast, Cable, Sports and News, overseeing the cable entertainment networks, NBC News, MSNBC, CNBC, NBC Sports, the owned-and-operated local stations, and affiliate relations. He will no longer oversee UCP.
“Bonnie’s great taste, deep Hollywood relationships, and strong track record of generating popular and award-winning programming make her ideally suited to oversee this new division. With our studios being a main pipeline for Peacock’s original content, she will continue to be integral to the future success of our streaming business,” said Burke, who announced the restructuring in a company memo. (you can read it below).
He added, “I worked with Matt for many years at Comcast Cable, and know firsthand that he is one of the most talented leaders in our company. He has great experience with video, digital technology, and streaming and is the right person for the role at this juncture.”
Prior to joining Peacock, Hammer had executive oversight of the cable entertainment portfolio, including USA Network, Syfy, Bravo, E! Entertainment, Universal Kids, and the cable studios.
Strauss was most recently EVP of XFINITY Services for Comcast Cable, where he oversaw the video, Internet, home, and voice businesses.
Unlike Hammer, Strauss has no programming experience. Seasoned Universal programming executive Bill McGoldrick has been overseeing development for Peacock. He will now report to Strauss in that role and will continue to report tp Lazarus in his cable networks role.
NBCU is the second conglom to put an executive with no programming experience at the helm of its upcoming streaming platform, joining Disney+’s Ricky Strauss
As Co-Chairmen of NBC Entertainment for the past year, Cheeks and Telegdy were jointly responsible for overseeing all aspects of primetime, late-night, and scripted daytime programming for the NBC network.
Here is Burke’s memo:
I am writing to announce some organizational changes that are part of the company’s evolving strategy to address the changing media landscape.
With the increase in places to view content, including the launch of Peacock, it has become increasingly clear that we need a single television studio group to produce for a variety of platforms. Therefore, today we are announcing the creation of NBCUniversal Content Studios, bringing together Universal Content Productions and Universal Television in one division, and I have asked Bonnie Hammer to lead this new unit. Bonnie is a great creative executive and the perfect leader for this key role. I want to thank Bonnie for getting Peacock off to such a fantastic start by doing what she does best – developing a strong brand and powerful programming slate.
I also want to give a warm welcome to Matt Strauss, who will be joining us from Comcast Cable to lead Peacock and Digital Enterprises. Matt brings a wealth of distribution, digital, and streaming expertise to NBCUniversal, which will be invaluable as we continue to build our direct-to-consumer business.
Additionally, George Cheeks, who has done an outstanding job along with Paul Telegdy leading NBC Entertainment, will become Vice Chairman of the new studio business. NBC Entertainment will remain in great hands with Paul as sole chairman.
We are fortunate to have such strong leaders across our organization who can seamlessly move into these roles. Please join me in congratulating them and see the press release below for more information.