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NEW YORK — NBC is consolidating its TV network research unit, combining previously separate departments to handle news, sports and affiliate research functions.

By grouping the trio under a unified umbrella, “NBC creates a synergy that will help each division enhance both local and national ratings performance,” said Nicholas Schiavone, senior VP/research.

Leading the unit and reporting to Schiavone is Nancy Gallagher, named VP of news, sports and affiliate research. Gallagher joined NBC in 1978 and has most recently served as director of affiliate and sports research. In other moves, John Clifton has been named director of news audience measurement. He moves up from manager. And Heather Hart was upped to director/media and marketing research from research projects manager.