This article was updated at 10 p.m..
HOLLYWOOD — NBC comedy development chief JoAnn Alfano is ankling her network gig to serve as prexy of television for Lorne Michaels’ Peacock-based Broadway Video.
Alfano’s exit, anticipated for months, is the first of several changes expected at the Peacock in the coming weeks.
NBC Studios prexy Ted Harbert is expected to leave his post this summer and is mulling new job options ranging from exec positions to production deals. Programming exec VP Karey Burke will also move into a new position, perhaps setting up her own production shingle with Jamie Tarses (Daily Variety, June 3), while FX programming prexy Kevin Reilly is talking to NBC about a top post (Daily Variety, May 28.)
As for Alfano, her hire signals that “Saturday Night Live” creator Michaels is more than ready for primetime: With Burbank-based Alfano leading the charge, Broadway Video is expected to become a much more active Peacock pod, developing mostly for NBC.
“The driving force behind this has been Jeff (Zucker, president of NBC Entertainment),” Michaels said. “Having worked in New York, and knowing how much talent there is at ‘SNL’ both in front of and behind the camera, he knew we needed to link the West Coast and the East Coast. He’s the first president in a long time who understands how to get the most out of the New York people.”
Enter Alfano, who will now work to both mine “SNL” talent for potential primetime projects and bring in Hollywood-based scribes to develop under the Broadway Video banner.
“JoAnn is someone who’s both trusted and experienced, and obviously very talented,” Michaels said. “She knows her way around Burbank … and she knows what the needs at NBC are.”
Michaels said having a full-time prexy for TV “is a very solid way of building” on the talent pool developed at “SNL.” As it is, the latenight landmark has produced numerous primetime powers, including Bonnie and Terry Turner and ex-“Simpsons” scribe Conan O’Brien.
For Alfano, the new gig reps a homecoming of sorts.
“I started my career as a publicist for ‘SNL,’ so it feels like I’ve come full circle,” she said. “To get the opportunity to launch a TV company with Lorne Michaels … is just a golden opportunity. For a girl from Queens, this is a big moment.”
Having been at NBC Studios before, and then worked at the net in both comedy and drama, Alfano has been yearning to return to a production role.
“I had learned as much as I could from those jobs and done the best job I really knew how to do,” she said.
Zucker said Alfano “has been a terrific part of NBC’s success story for many years. We look forward to working with her in her new capacity.”
Before taking over as head of comedy development in 2000, Alfano spent a year in NBC’s top drama post. Before that, she spent five years as VP of primetime series for NBC Studios. While at the Peacock production arm, she helped supervise the creative and production elements for series such as “Will & Grace,” “Homicide: Life on the Street” and “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”
Prior to her run at NBC Studios, Alfano worked as director of comedy programs at NBC Entertainment. She had also served as director of media relations for NBC, working on both “SNL” and “The Cosby Show.”