Comcast has cut a five-year deal with Ted Harbert that will keep him at the head of the company’s entertainment cablers through 2016.
The long-term deal for Harbert, an ABC and NBC vet who joined Comcast in 2004, raises immediate speculation that he’ll be tapped for a role managing some of NBC Universal’s TV assets down the road after Comcast completes its pending takeover of the Peacock. At present, Harbert oversees Comcast cablers E! Entertainment Television, Style Network and G4, as well as its Comcast Intl. Media Group and Comcast Entertainment Prods.
Harbert’s resume makes him a logical candidate for the job of rehabilitating NBC. He spent 20 years at ABC, rising to the post of entertainment prexy before exiting in 1997. He later moved to the Peacock as prexy of the NBC Studios production wing before being tapped by Comcast to run E!. He was promoted to his current role as prez and CEO of Comcast Entertainment Group in 2006, reporting to Comcast Programming Group prexy Jeff Shell.
Ted has guided each of our entertainment brands to record-breaking growth in ratings and revenue over the past five years,” Shell said in announcing the pact.
Harbert would not comment on anything involving Comcast’s long-term plan for NBC Universal. He emphasized how much he’s come to love the cable business, his team at E!, Style and G4, and he added that he’s “thrilled by the support this company has shown me.”
E! in particular has been on a roll of late with the heat from its original skeins, led by “Keeping Up with the Kardashians.” Since its fourth season bow last month, “Kardashians” has ruled as the most-watched show in all of primetime among women 18-34, with an average of 4 million viewers and 5.1 rating in the femme demo.