People/Biz

Pearlena Igbokwe to lead NBCU TV studios, Bonnie Hammer named vice chairman

NBCUniversal has promoted Pearlena Igbokwe, president of Universal Television, to chairman of Universal Studio Group, a role previously held by Bonnie Hammer, who has been named NBCUniversal vice chairman. Igbokwe (pictured right) will ...
September 9, 2020

NBCUniversal has promoted Pearlena Igbokwe, president of Universal Television, to chairman of Universal Studio Group, a role previously held by Bonnie Hammer, who has been named NBCUniversal vice chairman.

Igbokwe (pictured right) will lead the company’s global television studio business including Universal Television, Universal Content Productions (UCP) and NBCUniversal International Studios.

She will report directly to Jeff Shell, CEO, NBCUniversal. In Hammer’s new position as a corporate advisor, she will continue to report to Shell.

Dawn Olmstead, president of UCP, and Jeff Wachtel, president of NBCUniversal International Studios, will now report directly to Igbokwe.

As chairman of the Universal Studio Group (formerly NBCUniversal Content Studios), Hammer (pictured, left) aligned NBCUniversal’s content business, bringing together the company’s three powerhouse studios — Universal Television, UCP and NBCUniversal International Studios — under one umbrella.

She took on the role in October 2019. Prior to that, Hammer served as chairman of direct-to-consumer and digital enterprises, overseeing the creation of NBCU’s recently launched streamer, Peacock.

Before Peacock, Hammer had executive oversight of NBCU’s cable entertainment portfolio, including USA Network, SYFY, Bravo, E! Entertainment, Universal Kids, and the cable studios.

As president of Universal Television, Igbokwe oversaw all aspects of the studio business. Programs under her purview included largely scripted fare such as The Good Place, Brooklyn Nine-Nine and FBI: Most Wanted.

Prior to that, she served as EVP of drama programming for NBC Entertainment. Before joining NBCUniversal, Igbokwe worked at Showtime for 20 years, where she was involved in developing scripted series such as Dexter and Nurse Jackie.

She currently serves as the VP of the Hollywood Radio and TV Society board and is a member of the Television Academy Executive Committee.

“This is an exciting time for our business, with demand for entertainment content at an all-time high and more distribution platforms available than ever before,” said Shell in a statement. “Our television studios are key growth engines for the company, and Pearlena is ideally suited to lead them. She has extraordinary taste and is well-respected within NBCU, and throughout the global creative community.”

“I am extremely pleased to be gaining Bonnie as a trusted advisor,” Shell added. “Her deep industry experience, impeccable creative instincts and 25-plus years of prosocial advocacy will be immensely valuable to me and our company.”

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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