You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Westlake ankles top post at U TV

Group likely to shift to motion-picture division, insiders say

Blair Westlake, a 19-year U veteran, has resigned as chairman of Universal Television & Networks Group.

Sources said U parent company Vivendi offered Westlake the post of president of Canal Technologies in France, but that he turned it down because the job did not include oversight of the European cable nets that he helped to create, including 13th Street: The Action & Suspense Channel and Studio Universal.

As part of the reorganization post-Westlake, insiders said the TV & Networks Group is likely to shift over to the motion-picture division and report to Rick Finkelstein, prexy-chief operating officer of the division, and chair Stacey Snider. Westlake reported directly to Ron Meyer, president and COO of Universal Studios.

In an interview, Westlake, 46, boasted about his successful stewardship of international networks like 13th Street and Studio Universal (plus U.K. net the Studio), turning a $100 million investment in these nets into an asset that some analysts have valued as high as $1.5 billion, he said.

During his tenure, Westlake engineered lucrative agreements with such broadcasters as RTL in Germany, TF1 in France, England’s BSkyB and Television Espanola in Spain.

But domestically, Westlake’s division lost a number of its successful TV programs to Barry Diller’s Studios USA when Edgar Bronfman Jr. bought U four years ago and sold its TV arm to Diller. Universal has set up a relatively small syndication operation.

Westlake’s term at Universal included top executive posts in U’s homevid and pay TV divisions. He became chairman of the TV & Networks Group in December 1997.

More TV

  • Sky Takeover: Auction Set for Comcast,

    Sky Takeover: Comcast, Fox to Duke It Out in Weekend Auction

    Blair Westlake, a 19-year U veteran, has resigned as chairman of Universal Television & Networks Group. Sources said U parent company Vivendi offered Westlake the post of president of Canal Technologies in France, but that he turned it down because the job did not include oversight of the European cable nets that he helped to […]

  • Jodie Whittaker Portrait

    Jodie Whittaker on Taking Over 'Doctor Who' and Why She Knows She's Getting Equal Pay

    Blair Westlake, a 19-year U veteran, has resigned as chairman of Universal Television & Networks Group. Sources said U parent company Vivendi offered Westlake the post of president of Canal Technologies in France, but that he turned it down because the job did not include oversight of the European cable nets that he helped to […]

  • 'AHS: Apocalypse' Recap: The Rubber Man

    'American Horror Story' Recap: The Rubber Man Returns in 'The Morning After'

    Blair Westlake, a 19-year U veteran, has resigned as chairman of Universal Television & Networks Group. Sources said U parent company Vivendi offered Westlake the post of president of Canal Technologies in France, but that he turned it down because the job did not include oversight of the European cable nets that he helped to […]

  • Julie Chen hosts Big Brother. BIG

    Julie Chen Continues to Use Married Name on 'Big Brother' After 'The Talk' Exit

    Blair Westlake, a 19-year U veteran, has resigned as chairman of Universal Television & Networks Group. Sources said U parent company Vivendi offered Westlake the post of president of Canal Technologies in France, but that he turned it down because the job did not include oversight of the European cable nets that he helped to […]

  • Josh Meyers'Nasty Baby' film premiere, Los

    Josh Meyers to Star in Homeowner Association Comedy in Development at NBC

    Blair Westlake, a 19-year U veteran, has resigned as chairman of Universal Television & Networks Group. Sources said U parent company Vivendi offered Westlake the post of president of Canal Technologies in France, but that he turned it down because the job did not include oversight of the European cable nets that he helped to […]

  • SAG-AFTRA Reaches Deal on Television Animation

    SAG-AFTRA Reaches Deal on Television Animation Contract

    Blair Westlake, a 19-year U veteran, has resigned as chairman of Universal Television & Networks Group. Sources said U parent company Vivendi offered Westlake the post of president of Canal Technologies in France, but that he turned it down because the job did not include oversight of the European cable nets that he helped to […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content