Friday, August 7, 2020

NBCUniversal Restructures Management

Paul Telegdy
Paul Telegdy has exitied his post as NBC Entertainment chairman as NBCUniversal Thursday unveiled the new centralized structure under Mark Lazarus, Chairman of NBCUniversal Television and Streaming. It includes a larger role for Lifestyle Networks president Frances Berwick.

The moves comes amid a misconduct investigation that was spurred by an explosive report by The Hollywood Reporter last week.

Telegdy, the chairman of NBC Entertainment who has overseen hit shows like “America’s Got Talent” and “The Voice,” had been earmarked to spearhead one of NBCUniversal’s new business units as Chief Executive Jeff Shell consolidates staff of various broadcast, cable and streaming platforms.

But last Friday’s report, which accused the exec of “presiding over a toxic environment,” put the brakes on that. The report cites over 30 current and former NBC employees, claiming that the Telegdy “mocked gay executives,” used “homophobic and misogynistic slurs” and made “sexual comments about the physical appearance of network talent.”

Even Sharon Osbourne, a former “America’s Got Talent” judge, spoke out against the exec in the report, alleging he threatened her in 2012.

Osbourne claimed that she once told Telegdy that her famous family was thinking about holding a press conference to protest the NBC’s decision to drop her son, Jack, from the show, “Stars Earn Stripes,” after he revealed he has multiple sclerosis.

“He said, ‘Go f–k yourself,’” Osbourne told THR of Telegdy, adding that he told her, “’If you call the press you’ll never work in this town, you f–king witch.’” She said she quit over the dispute. A rep for Telegdy denied Osbourne’s account to THR, reports The NY Post.

The exec also has been embroiled in a public battle with former “America’s Got Talent” judge Gabrielle Union, who accused him of threatening her agent while Union was in the midst of a discrimination suit against the network. Union filed a harassment complaint that accused the network of being “a snake pit of racial offenses,” and claimed she was axed from the show when she complained. Telegdy and NBC have denied the accusations of any threats, and NBC has said an outside investigation did not support her claims.

As part of Thursday’s reshuffle, NBC also elevated Frances Berwick, who currently oversees the Bravo, E! and Oxygen cable networks. A 24-year NBCU vet, who has helped develop “Top Chef,” “Project Runway” and “The Real Housewives” franchise, Berwick will head business operations and deal-making for content across all the company’s entertainment operations. Her marching orders include “mapping out the programming strategy and content spend across the TV entertainment brands,” the company said.

According to Deadline, here are the new divisions in NBCUniversal’s Television and Streaming group that will now report directly to Lazarus:

Frances Berwick
• The Entertainment Business unit will report to Berwick. That includes Chris McCumber, President, Entertainment Networks—USA Network and Syfy. 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 windowing and scheduling strategies across the NBC broadcast network and the cable entertainment networks.

• The Entertainment Programming unit will consist of three content groups: scripted programming, unscripted programming, late-night and alternative. It will have oversight of all original entertainment programming for the NBC broadcast network, the cable entertainment networks and Peacock. Leaders for those groups will be named once the Entertainment Programming head is appointed in the second phase of restructuring.  This unit will work in close partnership with the company’s internal studios (Universal Television, UCP, Universal Television Alternative Studios and NBCUniversal International Studios), whose leadership is currently staying intact, as well as outside production companies.

• The Direct-To-Consumer unit will be led by Matt Strauss, who will continue to oversee Peacock, the company’s new streaming service. Peacock will maintain its own separate team within the division, while sharing the programming and acquisition function with the entertainment units in the portfolio. International Networks, run by Ken Bettsteller, and Fandango, run by Paul Yanover, will also report to Strauss.

• NBC Sports will continue to be led by Pete Bevacqua, whose team will work with the entire portfolio on scheduling and sports-related content.

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

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