People/Biz

NBCUniversal shuffles TV, streaming businesses; Paul Telegdy exits

NBCUniversal has announced a reorganization of its television and streaming platforms businesses that will see NBC Entertainment chairman Paul Telegdy exit the company. The news comes not long after reports surfaced that NBCUniversal would be ...
August 6, 2020

NBCUniversal has announced a reorganization of its television and streaming platforms businesses that will see NBC Entertainment chairman Paul Telegdy exit the company.

The news comes not long after reports surfaced that NBCUniversal would be making cuts to staff across its portfolio brands as part of the restructuring.

At the same time, NBCU is reportedly investigating allegations that Telegdy fostered a “toxic” work environment, as laid out by The Hollywood Reporter on Friday (July 31).

NBCUniversal is in the midst of overhauling its entertainment operations under CEO Jeff Shell, who has been aligning NBCU’s television networks under its new Television and Streaming division, led by Mark Lazarus.

Confirmed today, the realigned group will consist of “distinct and horizontally integrated” business units that will share resources and staff, reporting directly to Lazarus, who was appointed chairman of the division in May.

Matt Strauss will lead NBCU’s direct-to-consumer unit while continuing to oversee the recently launched streamer Peacock.

Peacock will maintain its own separate team within the division, while sharing the programming and acquisition function with the entertainment units in the portfolio.

Strauss took the helm of Peacock in October after a career at Comcast Cable, where he ran product strategy for Xfinity and helped transform the company’s video and internet residential business.

He oversaw the launch of Peacock, which has garnered more than 10 million sign-ups since it debuted. International Networks, run by Ken Bettsteller, and Fandango, run by Paul Yanover, will also report to Strauss.

The Entertainment Business unit will report to Lifestyle Networks president Frances Berwick (pictured), who will now be in charge of the business of mapping out the programming strategy and content spend across the TV entertainment brands.

Berwick will have operational oversight of all networks and dayparts and be responsible for commissioning and acquiring content to be optimized across these platforms.

Additionally, Berwick’s team will implement creative windowing and scheduling strategies across the NBC broadcast network and the cable entertainment networks. Previously, Berwick ran the Lifestyle Networks business (Bravo, E!, Oxygen and Universal Kids).

The Entertainment Programming unit will consist of three content groups: scripted programming, unscripted programming, late-night and alternative.

It will have primary oversight of all original entertainment programming for the NBC broadcast network, the cable entertainment networks and Peacock. This unit will work in close partnership with the company’s internal studios (Universal Television, UCP, Universal Television Alternative Studios and NBCUniversal International Studios) as well as outside production companies.

The company is in the midst of a search for the leader of this unit.

The division additionally includes Telemundo Enterprises, led by Beau Ferrari; the NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations, led by Valari Staab; and Affiliate Relations, led by Phil Martzolf. Both Telemundo and the owned station group as well as affiliate relations will continue to report to Lazarus and operate as separate business units within the portfolio.

“We have an unparalleled portfolio that is now in an even stronger position to drive growth for the business. With the power of NBC and the broadcast model, coupled with the strong cable entertainment brands and the new addition of Peacock, we have massive scale and a deep library of valuable content that can live across platforms,” said Lazarus. “We are incredibly fortunate to have some of the most talented executives in the industry leading the charge and am confident that we are poised to win in this competitive landscape.”

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.

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