As rumors of Comcast’s new structure for NBC U continue to leak, new CEO Steve Burke is set to fly to Universal City next week.
Among the issues on Burke’s docket: clarifying the fate of NBC U TV topper Jeff Gaspin, who has long been rumored to be on his way out once the Comcast-NBC U merger is completed.
Also still up in the air is the possibility of a new major hire to handle the NBC TV network’s operations, such as sales and stations. CBS senior adviser Nancy Tellem is among the names on that shortlist — but it’s believed that she already turned the job down.
Gaspin has more recently been chatted up as a contender for an operational president job with duties similar to those of former NBC TV Network prexies Randy Falco and Neil Braun (Daily Variety, Nov. 5). But it’s still unclear whether Gaspin — who currently oversees all of TV for NBC U — would accept a smaller role, or that such a scenario would make sense in the new Comcast order.
According to insiders, Gaspin (who was on a plane Wednesday) has not been informed by Comcast of his future just yet. Comcast declined to comment.
Others noted that Gaspin and Tellem are just two of several names that have been discussed for that New York-based network operations job.
Tellem, the former CBS Network TV Entertainment prexy who now serves as a consultant to CBS CEO Leslie Moonves, has kept mum, even internally, about the offer.
Several NBC insiders, however, believe it’s no longer possible that Tellem will join the Peacock. Fox’s Tony Vinciquerra had also been approached months ago but quickly passed.
Should Tellem take the job, the move would be quite a surprise. Tellem hails from the entertainment business side and hasn’t had as many dealings with New York-based operations such as sales or affiliate relations.
Meanwhile, it continues to look like NBC cable execs Bonnie Hammer and Lauren Zalaznick will remain in charge of their respective empires — with perhaps a few Comcast Entertainment cablers sprinkled in (such as G4 to Hammer’s oversight and Style to Zalaznick).
And Comcast Entertainment’s Ted Harbert is also likely to keep at least part of his current domain. (Comcast’s Jeff Shell is believed to be in line for an international gig.)
Meanwhile, Bob Greenblatt is in line to take over NBC’s entertainment operations, although a deal has not yet been finalized. As part of the new set up, major execs — including Greenblatt, Hammer and Zalaznick — will report to Burke.
As for Burke, he is expected to meet with network execs and perhaps outline the soon-to-be merged company’s new executive oversight.
Burke’s visit comes as NBC Universal is expected next week (perhaps Wednesday) to announce the fate of at least some of its top-level management. But expect word of the new setup to drip out before then.