Armando Nunez Jr., at 36 already something of an international TV veteran, has been tapped as president of Universal Intl. Television, the foreign TV distribution arm of the Hollywood major.
He replaces Colin Davis, who retired in June in the wake of parent company Seagram’s revamp of the studio’s vari-ous television divisions.
Nunez will oversee the sales and distribution of Universal’s feature films and TV shows to all free-to-air broadcast outlets outside the U.S. In addition, he will liaise with the pay television unit of the major in developing pro-gramming alliances around the world and in dovetailing program sales strategy with the development of branded channels abroad.
The appointment of Nunez is another sign of the changing of the guard at the various international TV divisions of the Hollywood majors. The skill sets are changing as the foreign business becomes more commercial, more bottom-line-conscious, and more youth-oriented.
“I am part of a change that’s happened over the last 18 months in international. It’s going to evolve more and we have to try to stay ahead of the trends and the times. My job is to make sure that we maximize the revenues of this division. We have, after all, some of the most valuable assets in the entertainment biz,” Nunez told Daily Va-riety.
Although Nunez has little experience so far in overseeing a vast feature film and TV series library, he does have the international business in his blood, so to speak: As a youngster he met many of the top foreign buyers, sellers and programmers through his father, Armando Nunez Sr. Latter has been an international TV exec with ITC, now owned by Polygram, for 34 years.
The younger Nunez will report to James McNamara, president of Universal Television Enterprises, himself a relative newcomer to the studio. McNamara worked closely with Nunez for a year when they were both executives at New World Entertainment, though they’ve known each other since the early ’80s.
Nunez’s present contract as a consultant to New World expires Jan. 22 as that production company/distribbery becomes officially absorbed by 20th Century Fox. His appointment at Universal had been expected for some time, and takes effect immediately.
Peter Hughes, an 18-year veteran of Universal’s international TV division, will remain in his post as exec VP and will work closely with Nunez.
Nunez’s first job in the industry came in 1982, when at age 21 he joined the feisty indie Telepictures and cut his teeth under veteran sales exec Michael J. Solomon. From 1984-89 he worked as a sales rep at ABC Video Enterprises under Archie Purvis.
Nunezthen had stints at indies that were eventually sold off or absorbed by others: IBS, which was purchased by Trimark; and Viacom, where he was in line to replace then-international president Raul Lefcovitz, until the com-pany merged with Paramount. At that point the Paramount TV execs took over the foreign sales operation of the consolidated company and Nunez ascendancy was stalled.
Jumping ship from Paramount TV Intl. in 1994, he moved to New World Entertainment where he became presi-dent of the company’s distribution unit.
The foreign TV sales division that Nunez will head at Universal is estimated by outside sources to bring in about $400 million per year to the studio.