Exec named president of original programming
Jeff Wachtel has been upped to president of original programming for USA Network.The move follows a run of recent ratings success for USA that has culminated in its current streak of 11 straight weeks as the top basic cabler. “Jeff has basically hit a home run with every original series that we’ve launched,” said NBC Universal cable topper Bonnie Hammer, to whom Wachtel reports. Since joining USA in 2001 as exec VP of original programming, Wachtel has overseen the launch of several original series, including “Monk,” “Psych” and “Burn Notice.” The recent ratings performance of those three shows has USA on track for what may be the highest-rated quarter for a basic cabler ever. Under the cable management structure established by NBC U last year, Wachtel also serves as co-head of Universal Cable Prods. along with Mark Stern. That division is responsible for a number of USA’s current hits, including “Monk,” “Psych” and “In Plain Sight.” It’s also behind several big launches for the newly rechristened SyFy Channel, including “Warehouse 13” and “Battlestar Galactica” spinoff “Caprica.” Prior to joining USA, Wachtel served as president of Canadian production house Alliance Atlantis Television.