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Baker atop NBC Universal cable arm

Executive promoted to president of distribution

NBC Universal has promoted Bridget Baker to prexy of distribution for the company’s portfolio of cable networks, led by USA, Sci Fi Channel, MSNBC, CNBC and Bravo.

Baker succeeds Dave Zaslav, who announced last month he had accepted the job of prexy-CEO of Discovery Communications, reporting the first week of January.

“Bridget has made me look good for the last 17 years,” said Zaslav, to whom she reported, rising to the post of exec VP of cable distribution. “She’s a great dealmaker.”

Baker will now report to Jeff Zucker, chief exec of the NBC U TV Group.

Zaslav called her the “key leader” in negotiating deals for NBC Universal’s cable nets with cable operators including Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox and Charter; satellite distributors DirecTV and EchoStar; and Verizon and AT&T, phone companies now getting into cable.

These deals have become more complicated as clauses were added covering such areas as pay-per-view, video-on-demand and high definition TV.

Although distribution is her main focus, Baker will also oversee the cable nets’ legal matters, marketing, business affairs and communications.

She will remain based in Los Angeles.