Peacock divides specials dept.
NBC has realigned its specials department, placing oversight under execs Craig Plestis and Doug Vaughan.Plestis, who continues as NBC’s alternative topper, will head up the Peacock’s West Coast-based specials, while Vaughan will oversee specials on the East Coast. Both execs fill the void left by former specials chief Curt Sharp, who departed the net last month. Also, as part of the change, NBC has tapped USA Network alternative series and specials VP Libby Hansen to split her time between the sibling broadcast and cable nets. And former A. Smith & Co. staffer Mariana Manela also has joined the two nets as director of alternative series and specials for both NBC and USA. In their added specials roles, Plestis and Vaughan both will report to NBC Entertainment prexy Kevin Reilly. “This important shift of our executives demonstrates our commitment to specials programming and allows us to better focus our attention on these crucial components of NBC’s primetime schedule,” Reilly said. Plestis, who now will serve as senior VP, alternative programming, development and specials, has headed up NBC’s alternative programming slate (such as “Deal or No Deal”) since June 2004. Before jumping to the alternative series side, Plestis was an on-air promotions exec at the NBC Agency. Vaughan will continue to split his time between NBC News and the Peacock’s entertainment divisions as VP, special programs, news and entertainment. He’ll oversee projects such as “Christmas in Rockefeller Center,” “Madonna: The Confessions Tour Live” and “Tony Bennett: An American Classic.” Before turning his attention to specials, Vaughan was a supervising producer at “Today.” As for Hansen, the exec now will jointly report to Plestis and USA Network’s original programming exec VP Jeff Wachtel. She’d served as USA’s VP of alt series and specials since July 2004; before that, she was exec director, alternative series and specials, at ABC. At USA, she helped relaunch “Nashville Stars” and came up with the reality entry “Made in the USA.”