Prexy steps down after 32 years with NBCU

Telemundo prexy Don Browne is retiring June 3 after a career of more than 30 years at NBCUniversal.

Over the past six, Browne has headed the Peacock’s Spanish-language media company, and has overseen Telemundo’s 14 O&O stations as well as its programming, news and sports divisions and youth-targeted sister net, Mun2.

The Browne, 67, who spearheaded the conglom’s foray into original Spanish-language programming, began working at NBCU in 1979 as chief of NBC News’ Miami bureau.

“Don Browne has had an outstanding career as a broadcaster and executive, from his years as a bureau chief and executive vice president of NBC News to his tenure most recently at Telemundo, which under his leadership has become an extremely exciting part of our portfolio,” said NBCU CEO Steve Burke.

Browne’s successor will be announced “in a few months,” according to the net.

Telemundo has consistently run at No. 2 behind its rival Univision, which has the advantage of access to popular telenovelas produced by partner Grupo Televisa.

Browne’s retirement follows major changes in heirarchy at the conglom.

In November, during the NBCU/Comcast merger, it was reported that Telemundo would move to Lauren Zalaznick’s newly created Women & Lifestyle Entertainment Networks division.

“Don’s career has been marked by an intense passion for news and a keen eye for talent. He has long been a champion of diversity and for years has been an advocate for Hispanic media,” said Zalaznick, to whom Browne reports.

Zalaznick has shown a pronounced interest in reaching out to Hispanic viewers.

On the heels of NBCU’s announcement that it would create three new minority-O&O cable channels in the next two years, the division chief unveiled Latin-focused marketing initiative Hispanics@NBCU last week — with Telemundo and its programming (particularly telenovela “La reina del sur,” which has led ratings growth) was prominently mentioned.

Browne said the decision to leave was his, and he’d been talking about it with his wife for some time.

“With Lauren’s intelligence and talent, there would never be a better time,” Browne said of Zalaznick. “This is a big and complicated business, and she’s done a great job of leading in. She’s got a great team.”

Browne said he was looking forward to doing something he hadn’t done in a while — celebrating his wedding anniversary.

“We never celebrate our anniversary because it’s during May sweeps,” he said. “After 30 years of marriage, and postponing and never celebrating, there comes a time.”

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