Wurtzel is a respected executive known for his humorous and informative presentations on the changing world of TV ratings and viewing behavior. Wurtzel’s shift from his NBCU post as president of research and media development was announced to staffers in a memo Tuesday from Jeff Bader, NBC’s president of program planning, strategy and research.
“In his more than 40 years in television, Alan has pioneered research and measurement initiatives that have not only changed our company, but have also had a large impact on the industry as a whole,” Bader wrote.
With Wurtzel’s transition, NBC Entertainment and Universal Television’s research team will now report to Bader. NBC Sports research efforts will report to Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBC Broadcasting and Sports.
Wurtzel’s legacy at NBCU includes the development of its Total Audience Measurement Index, a pioneering effort to understand the impact of crossplatform viewing on major network events such as the Olympics. Last year, Wurtzel supervised the construction of the NBCUniversal Research Lab at the Universal Studios theme park in Orlando, Fla.
In 2009, Wurtzel was a driving force in the creation of the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement, an effort to bring together networks, advertisers and content producers to push for advancements in TV ratings and other measurement tools.
Wurtzel joined NBC in 1999 after a 21-year career at ABC. In his note to staffers, Bader noted that Wurtzel gave him his first job in network TV when he was hired in 1988 as a research analyst at ABC.
“It’s safe to say that NBCU would not be the thought-leader in research that we are today were it not for him,” Bader wrote.