Jeff Wachtel is putting his stamp on Universal Cable Prods., recruiting producer Dawn Parouse Olmstead to head development as exec VP.
Olmstead will oversee all scripted programming for NBCU’s cable production studio. Richard Rothstein, who had been senior VP of development and current, will shift to overseeing all current programming for the unit, which produces “Psych,” “Suits,” “Royal Pains” and other shows for NBCU cablers.
Olmstead has worked for the past five years as a producer on a range of projects through her Warner Horizon TV-based Grady Girls banner with writer Marti Noxon. Grady Girls most recently produced a pilot for Bravo, “Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce,” and a pilot for Lifetime, “The Lottery.” Before Grady Girls, she ran Neal Moritz’s Original Television banner. Earlier in her career she worked as a development exec at MTV.
Olmstead’s hire marks the first major shift at UCP since Jeff Wachtel switched gears from running USA Network, as co-president, to his new role spearheading cable production as prexy and chief content officer for NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment.
“It’s a real coup for us to land a creative producer at Dawn’s level to spearhead our newly escalating effort to create and own original content. She is one of the smartest and most focused producers I’ve ever met, and she is the perfect person to take our in house scripted studio to the next level.” Wachtel said. “With almost a dozen shows in active production, it was time to centralize the management of our existing and upcoming series. It’s a core belief that it’s not enough just to get shows on the air; our job is to get series to the critical mass of creating a long-term asset. Richard has been a key member of the team that has created one of the best series-to-success ratios in the business.”