Paul Telegi split ways with NBC Entertainment, following accusations of racist, sexist and homophobic behavior, as the parent company of NBCUniversal engineers extensive corporate renovations aimed at optimizing the network and business directly to consumers.
Soon, NBCUniversal’s head of lifestyle networks, Francis Berwick, will now run his TV entertainment business, overseeing day-to-day operations across all networks and parts, commissioning and acquiring platform-based programs, and implementing “creative strategies for windows and planning ”in both the NBC broadcasting networks and the NBCU cable networks.
The entertainment programming department, consisting of scripted, unwritten, late-night, and alternative programming, will oversee all of NBC̵
With the release of Telegdy, no leader has been named for the entertainment programming unit, although many sources recently told Variety that Netflix’s VP of local original languages and former NBCU exec Bela Bajaria had been accepted for the job, which would include extended purpose, which covers not only the broadcast network, but also its cable brothers.
In the absence of a clear programming manager, many highly regarded program performers remain in the company, including Universal Television studio president Pearlena Igbokwe; speculation of a change of leadership was directed at veteran exec, as well as NBCU ContentC Studios chairman Bonnie Hammer.
Matt Strauss, who currently heads Peacock, will lead NBCU’s direct to the consumer department. Peacock will continue to have its own team in the DTC, but shares programming and acquisitions with NBCU’s entertainment units.
Pete Bevacua will continue to lead NBC Sports. Berwick, Strauss, Bevacqua and the eventual head of entertainment programming will report to Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBCU’s television and streaming.
“We have an incomparable portfolio, which is now in an even stronger position to boost business. With the power of NBC and the broadcast model, combined with strong cable entertainment brands and the new addition to Peacock, we have a massive scale and a deep library of valuable content that can be transferred across platforms, ”said Lazar. “We are incredibly fortunate to have some of the most talented leaders in the industry leading the prosecution, and I am confident that we are ready to win in this competitive landscape.”
The move comes as NBCU’s newly appointed CEO Jeff Shell focuses on optimizing content and programming operations within the company, and NBCU’s cable side is under pressure to cut costs as ad-supported cables feel the heat in a competitive environment for streaming and cutting cables.
Significant redundancies are expected, although the extent of staff reductions is not yet clear.
This is not the first major reorganization at NBCUniversal in the past year. Shell entered the main executive chair earlier this year, taking on the role of Steve Burke; last October, Hammer moved from launching Peacock to overseeing all studio and cable studio operations.
Below is the inside note that Lazar shared with staff:
As you all know, our business has undergone more changes in the previous year than in the last decade. The audience has become more fragmented and the audience is moving across multiple platforms. To achieve our future growth, it is important for us to continuously evaluate our organization and ensure that we have the best structure to meet the needs of our fans, distribution partners, the creative community and our marketing partners.
Today I am pleased to announce a new organizational structure of our entertainment television and streaming business, which I am sure has positioned us for continued success.
We have some of the best brands in the industry – from NBC’s broadcast network to cable entertainment and lifestyle networks to Telemundo to Peacock to NBC Sports to Fandango, as well as our local NBC and Telemundo stations. By closely integrating these assets, we can use our vast scale and breadth of content in more strategic and creative ways that will drive business forward.
It’s exciting to think about the new ways we can approach business, but I admit that change is not always easy and we have to make some difficult decisions. The new structure will be an adjustment for many of you and you will probably have questions about what the rest of the organization will look like. This will become clearer in the coming weeks, and I ask for your patience as the leadership team begins to outline it. In the meantime, feel free to talk to your HR manager about any issues.
I would also like to congratulate some of our leaders who are taking on additional responsibilities.
Francis Berwick moved to a broader role as head of the newly formed entertainment unit. She did an outstanding job managing the lifestyle brands in the cable group and I know she will be a huge advantage in this new position.
Matt Strauss’s role is expanding to cover International Networks and Fandango, giving him a broader view of our business directly to consumers. I want to thank Matt and the entire Peacock team for the successful launch of our new streaming service. I know that many of you from the company have contributed to Peacock – you should be proud of the fact that it is a really bright spot in the portfolio and represents a huge opportunity for growth.
In addition, several executives have stepped up into broader roles as part of the senior team for the entire division: Christie Shibata (Finance), Brian Dorfler (Human Resources), Dave Pietricha (Business Development) and Andra Shapiro (Legal).
Below is the message outlining the new structure and key executive positions.