A month and a half after longtime Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos was named co-CEO, he is shaking up the streamer’s top TV executive ranks. Netflix’s vast original TV content portfolio had been split between Holland, VP Original Content, who oversaw all English-language programming, and Bela Bajaria, VP Local Language Originals, who led non-English TV programming.
In a streamlining move, the two areas now are being combined under Bajaria, who has been named VP Global TV. She will oversee English- and local-language original series, scripted and unscripted, series and limited series.
In light of the consolidation and with no role for her in the new structure, Holland will be departing Netflix in October.
“Since becoming co-CEO, I’ve wanted to simplify the way our content teams operate – with one global film team led by Scott Stuber and one for TV, which will now be led by Bela Bajaria,” Sarandos said. “Since joining Netflix in 2016, Bela has demonstrated her versatility and creativity – building out our unscripted team and helping to take our local language slate, which is increasingly important for our members, to the next level. I can’t wait to see what Bela and the TV team achieve in the years to come.”
He added: “These kinds of changes are never easy, and I am enormously grateful to Cindy Holland for everything she has done over the last 18 years at Netflix – first licensing DVDs and then as the driving force behind our first eight years of English original series. Cindy’s been a great champion of creators and the power that comes from seeing more perspectives reflected on screen – launching enduring dramas like Orange Is the New Black, Stranger Things and The Crown. Most important of all she’s been a fabulous colleague. We wish her all the best for the future.”
Bajaria’s promotion comes on the heels of her being approached for the NBCUniversal top TV programming job.
Initially, former Universal TV President Bajaria was tasked with getting Netflix in the unscripted game and forging stronger ties with the traditional TV studios. She helped put Netflix on the TV reality map with its first big hit, the Queer Eye reboot. She also implemented a new model for collaborating with TV studios on their broadcast/basic cable series in exchange for taking international distribution. It led to such hits on the platform as You, which subsequently became a global Netflix original, and Good Girls. Last year, Bajaria was put in charge of international non-English TV originals — scripted, unscripted, comedy.
With the bulk of subscriber growth coming from outside of the U.S., local-language content is increasingly important for Netflix. It also is starting to boost the streamer’s awards tallies. This year, Netflix landed multiple Emmy nominations for Unorthodox.
During her 18 years at Netflix, Holland has led the English-language TV team as VP Original Content. She was instrumental in leading the switch from licensed to original content — working on acclaimed and award-winning shows including House of Cards, Orange Is the New Black, Stranger Things, The Crown, Ozark and Narcos; building doc programming with Making a Murderer, Chef’s Table and many more; and most recently overseeing unscripted programming as well, where the streamer found major success with Love Is Blind. Netflix last month set a new record with 160 Emmy nominations.
“It has been a real joy to lead the original series team for the last eight years,” Holland said. “From transitioning the company out of DVDs into streaming to launching our first slate of original series and documentaries, I’ve loved every moment. I am proud of the impact and the diversity of the stories we’ve brought to audiences around the world, and to have worked with some of the most inspiring creators and executives in our business.”
When the news came out, Holland was saluted by some of Netflix’s top creative talent.
“The end of an era,” Ava DuVernay wrote on Twitter. “Thank you, Cindy, for all the grace and room and love you gave me and my work. You are truly one of the greats on the executive side. And I’m so happy I had the chance to work with you on 13th and WHEN THEY SEE US. I’ll miss you a lot.”