Unscripted

NBCU unscripted production, development arm moves to Universal Studios Group

Following the recent departure of NBCUniversal alternative programming chief Meredith Ahr, more streamlining is taking place in the company’s unscripted ranks, with its in-house production and development arm, Universal Television ...
October 15, 2020

Following the recent departure of NBCUniversal alternative programming chief Meredith Ahr, more streamlining is taking place in the company’s unscripted ranks, with its in-house production and development arm, Universal Television Alternative Studio (UTAS), now moving under the auspices of Universal Studio Group (USG).

USG, headed up by Pearlena Igbokwe (pictured), also houses Universal Television, UCP and NBCUniversal International Studios within its roster.

UTAS, meanwhile, produces such series as The Titan Games (pictured, with A. Smith & Co.), World of Dance (with Nuyorican Productions) and The Wall (with Endemol Shine) among other unscripted series for NBC, while also housing numerous overall deals with assorted talent that straddles unscripted and scripted projects across UTAS and USG.

Toby Gorman, president of UTAS, will join Igbokwe’s leadership team at USG and will continue to oversee development, creative affairs and domestic sales strategy for the division. In an internal memo shared with staff announcing the move, Igbokwe said Gorman will also be “collaborating closely across all areas of production, casting, business affairs and international commercial development for UTAS.”

She added: “Now, with UTV, UCP, NBCUniversal International Studios and UTAS under the same umbrella we can further support our creators’ ambitions to develop and produce great television – no matter the format.

“We are so lucky to be adding Toby and his innovative team to our studio group and I look forward to collaborating with everyone at UTAS to further ignite our unscripted business.”

Ahr’s departure earlier this week, as well as that of former NBC co-chairman Paul Telegdy, came amid a restructuring process put in motion by CEO Jeff Shell, who has aligned NBCU’s television networks under its new television and streaming division, led by Mark Lazarus.

The restructuring, however, was also taking place amid the backdrop of an investigation into company culture and allegations of a “toxic” work environment, specifically within the reality division.

About The Author
Jillian Morgan is a special reports editor at realscreen with a background in journalism and digital marketing. She joined the publication in 2019 after serving as the assistant editor to trade publications HPAC and On-Site. With a bachelor of journalism from the University of King's College in Halifax, she also works as a freelance writer and fact-checker.

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