NBC Universal overhauls sports channel

Fox Cable Networks vet to serve as CEO

NBC Universal is overhauling the management of its Universal Sports cabler, tapping Fox Cable Networks vet David Sternberg to serve as CEO of the channel.

Perkins Miller, previously senior veep of digital media for NBC Sports and Olympics, has been named chief operating officer.

The two are taking on the duties previously handled by Claude Ruibal, who retains the title of U Sports chairman, and former prexy Carlos Silva, who is now president of Universal Sports Properties. Ruibal and Silva are holdovers from World Champion Sports Network, the cabler that NBC Universal and equity firm Intermedia Partners acquired in 2008 and refashioned as Universal Sports.

NBC U is clearly starting to put the Peacock stamp on the cabler. Along with the management overhaul, the channel recently moved to a facility in Westlake Village, Calif.

“Claude and Carlos have taken it about as far as they can take it,” said an insider. Sternberg’s mandate is to improve Universal Sports’ distribution, increasing from its current 57 million homes and likely trying to move it to more widely available tiers on cable and satellite operators. The deal is said to be skedded for completion in six to nine months.

Sternberg comes to U after serving as exec veep of emerging networks for Fox Cable Networks, where his duties included negotiating sports rights deals for Fox’s various domestic and international cablers. He is also a vet of Pricewaterhouse’s entertainment media and eommunications strategy group.

Miller, a longtime NBC employee, had also served as g.m. of Universal Sports.

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