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Wurtzel now in NBC’s fold

Ex-ABC exec becomes prez, research and media

NEW YORK — In an unexpected move, longtime ABC Inc. exec Alan Wurtzel is jumping to NBC to fill the newly created position of president, research and media development.

Wurtzel will have oversight of all planning, development and analysis of research generated for all parts of the Peacock broadcast division, including the NBC Television Network, NBC Entertainment and the NBC-owned stations group. He’ll report to NBC Television Network prexy Randy Falco, who announced Wurtzel’s hiring Wednesday.

NBC senior veep of research Nick Schiavone, who had reported to Falco, will now report to Wurtzel as part of the consolidation of NBC’s research departments.

Industry insiders said Wurtzel’s decision to ankle the Alphabet web for the Peacock may have been related, in part, to the pending relocation of most Gotham-based ABC execs to new headquarters in Los Angeles.

Wurtzel said he had simply decided to pounce on the chance to pull together all the research assets of NBC, which he said has “positioned itself extraordinar-ily well for the new media world. I leave ABC after being here 20 years with a lot of friends.”

NBC’s decision to create a president-level position for research indicates the growing role market research has in network television, Falco said.

“As the media landscape becomes increasingly competitive, having a deep understanding of our audience is critical,” he said.

Since August 1998, Wurtzel had supervised research and brand development for all ABC broadcasting, cable and syndication arms, reporting to ABC Group topper Robert Iger. He joined the ABC research department in 1978, working in various positions there and in the web’s standards and practices division until 1992, when he moved over to ABC News for a 5-1/2-year stint overseeing the division’s newsmags, specs and “Good Morning America.”

There’s no word yet on who will replace Wurtzel at ABC. The company may decide to return the top research job to a network-level position rather than an ABC position.