The coronation of Jeff Zucker will be followed by a modest reorganization of NBC’s TV hierarchy, promising new responsibilities for several key execs.
Zucker likely won’t replace himself immediately as head of NBC Universal Television. There will be no one exec in charge of everything from news and entertainment to ad sales and cable — the role Anne Sweeney, for example, plays as the leader of Disney’s TV operations.
NBC News and the net’s sports division, for example, are expected to continue reporting directly to Zucker. That would follow the template at CBS, where Leslie Moonves has held on to most East Coast-based direct reports.
But unlike Moonves, Zucker has a giant film studio and theme parks to worry about, so he will have to delegate some of his current duties.
In Los Angeles, that means two key execs — Marc Graboff and Jeff Gaspin — should see their responsibilities increase.
Graboff, prexy of NBC U West Coast, already has a big hand in all network and studio operations. That will continue, but look for NBC Entertainment prexy Kevin Reilly and NBC U TV Studio prexy Angela Bromstad to report directly to Graboff once the reorg is completed within the next month to six weeks.
Gaspin, prexy of NBC Universal cable entertainment and digital content, seems on track to take complete control of the highly profitable cable group. He’ll likely focus more on business strategy, finding new ways to extract more coin from lucrative properties such as USA, Sci Fi and Bravo — taking on a role similar to the one vacated by former NBC U Cable prexy David Zaslav, who ankled the Peacock last year for Discovery.
NBC Universal brass also will likely want to show some love to Bonnie Hammer, prexy of USA and Sci Fi. It’s possible she’ll take on more programming responsibilities at NBC U Cable.
Some insiders also point to Bravo prexy Lauren Zalaznick as a key future player, given how adeptly she’s managed to continue the reinvention of Bravo started by Gaspin.
Then there’s Reilly.
After enduring years of rumors about his future, Reilly now appears to be on solid ground at the Peacock. Thanks to his hand in developing hits such as “Heroes,” “The Office” and “My Name Is Earl,” along with such critically adored fare as “30 Rock” and “Friday Night Lights,” Reilly’s stock at the net has gone up. His contract expires this spring, and it’s believed talks about a new deal have begun.
“He’s doing a fantastic job, and we hope he’ll be around for a long time to come,” Zucker told Daily Variety last month.
Still, contract negotiations sometimes take on a life of their own. There’s always a chance Reilly’s camp and NBC won’t be able to come to terms on issues such as contract length or compensation.
Outside observers also will be looking to see how Zucker’s ascendancy affects Beth Comstock, NBC Universal’s digital guru. There had been speculation that she was up to replace Wright, though few people with deep knowledge of NBC U saw that as a serious possibility.