×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Jeff Wachtel Named President of NBCUniversal International Studios

NBCUniversal Cable veteran Jeff Wachtel is heading across the Pond to serve as president of NBCUniversal International Studios.

Wachtel had been chief content officer for NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment and head of Universal Cable Productions since 2013. With the move to London, he will oversee NBCU International’s portfolio of production companies and manage the development of formats and content partnerships for the Peacock. He will report to Kevin MacLellan, NBCUniversal’s chairman of global distribution and international.

“The ability to produce for a local and a global audience is key to the future success of any major production company,” MacLellan said. “Jeff is one of the few creative executives in the business who has proven time and again that he can deliver shows that work on both planes. Working with him closely over the years, my team and I have always found him to be incredibly collaborative and sensitive to what works best for our international audiences.”

Wachtel replaces Michael Edelstein as head of NBCUniversal’s international TV content strategy. Edelstein announced in October his plan to step down at year’s end after seven years in the post.

NBCUniversal International Studios is home to several busy production banners, including the U.K.’s Carnival Films (“Downton Abbey”), Working Title Television, Monkey Kingdom, and David Heyman’s Heyday TV.

Wachtel told Variety the opportunity to take the reins in London came as he was looking for his next challenge. His son Jesse is set to graduate from high school in the spring, which made it a good time for Wachtel and his wife, Sheryl, to take on a “grand adventure,” he said. (News of Wachtel’s new gig landed on Jesse’s 18th birthday, “which makes it the second most-important thing that happened today,” he quipped.)

Wachtel had been approached for a few other executive jobs and production venture opportunities but was happy to find a way to stay within the NBCUniversal/Comcast family.

“We have an unbelievable team (at NBCU Cable and UCP). It’s time to make way for the next generation,” Wachtel said. “This is a chance to do what I love to do. I’m going to a place that is already a thriving studio but can maybe use a little more strategic vision around it. I love coming into a new place and saying ‘How do we solve for this?’ “

Wachtel joined USA Network in 2001 and rose to co-president before shifting to the chief content officer post. Before that he had a long career as a film, TV and stage producer and studio executive.

A producer at heart, Wachtel said he is particularly excited about gaining more exposure to the global creative community and diving deeper into the formats business.

“There are so many cool things to do,” he said.

More TV

  • Syfy Cancels 'Nightflyers' After One Season

    Syfy Cancels 'Nightflyers' After One Season

    The George R.R. Martin drama “Nightflyers” has been canceled by Syfy after only one season. Based on the novella from the mastermind behind “Game of Thrones,” the show was seen as a big gamble for the NBCUniversal-owned cable network, as it represented the most expensive series it had ever developed. The network attempted to spark [...]

  • Batwoman Arrow

    The CW's 'Batwoman' Pilot Switches Directors, Adds Dougray Scott

    The CW has added veteran Scottish actor Dougray Scott to its “Batwoman” pilot as well as swapped in Marcos Siega for previous director David Nutter, Variety has learned. The pilot, which stars Ruby Rose as the eponymous caped heroine, is being helmed by DC TV head Greg Berlanti, and was penned by “Vampire Diaries” alum [...]

  • OG Review

    Review: 'O.G.' on HBO

    Jeffrey Wright, the most compelling reason to watch HBO’s new film “O.G.,” is among television’s best actors at switching between codes or manners of being. On “Westworld,” his timeline-toggling android swaps personae so delicately that his performance gains in resonance when recalled in retrospect. (Perhaps that’s why Wright has been so oddly underrated through the [...]

  • Nahnatchka Khan Writers Room

    Nahnatchka Khan Exits 20th Century Fox TV for Overall Deal at Universal

    Nahnatchka Khan has signed a four-year overall deal at Universal Television. The deal brings an end to the decade-plus Khan and her Fierce Baby Productions banner spent at 20th Century Fox Television. The move will see Khan exit from her role as showrunner on ABC comedy “Fresh Off the Boat,” which she also created. The [...]

  • David Ajala

    'Nightflyers' Star David Ajala Joins CBS Drama Pilot 'Under the Bridge'

    David Ajala has been cast in a lead role in the CBS drama pilot “Under the Bridge,” Variety has learned. In the project, when a scandal rocks the medical practice she runs with her husband and their friends, a surgeon rises to the occasion and takes the lead in trying to mend both the practice and [...]

  • A Man Walks Into the Cnn

    CNN Puts Former Sessions Aide in Newsroom Role

    Sarah Isgur Flores, a press aide to former US Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has been hired to help coordinate political coverage for CNN, a move that generated some pushback on social media Tuesday. Politico previously reported the CNN hire. Flores in the past has criticized CNN coverage, even going so far as to refer to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content