George Cheeks and Dawn Olmstead have been upped to co-presidents of NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment’s production units, Universal Cable Productions and Wilshire Studios. The pair fill the management void left by the departure of Jeff Wachtel, the former NBCU Cable Entertainment chief content officer, from Universal City for London to serve as president of NBCUniversal International Studios.
Cheeks and Olmstead will jointly oversee creative development and business operations for Universal Cable Productions and Wilshire Studios, which focuses on documentary and live event programming.
“I can’t imagine stronger leadership for our studios,” said Hammer. “Dawn is one of the most talented creative executives I’ve ever worked with, and George’s business savvy is second to none. Their combined expertise promises to bolster UCP and Wilshire Studios’ already fantastic track record.”
Separately, NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment has promoted Bill McGoldrick to president of scripted content, overseeing development and casting for programming across USA, Syfy, Bravo, E!, and Oxygen. He reports to Hammer.
“With smarts, taste and a great personality, everyone, inside the company and out, enjoys working with Bill. He’s also got an unfailing gut when it comes to great content, critically important for us since it’s at the heart of everything we do.”
Cheeks, who joined NBCU in 2012 from Viacom, will continue to serve in a dual executive role at NBCU Cable, reporting to NBCU Cable Entertainment chairman Bonnie Hammer, and as head of the NBC network’s late-night programming, reporting to NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt. But with the promotion on the cable side, he will give up his responsibilities as president of business operations for NBC.
Olmstead joined NBCU Cable in 2014 as executive VP of development after a long run as a producer, known for Fox’s “Prison Break” and Bravo’s “Girlfriends Guide to Divorce,” among other shows. At UCP she has helped shepherd USA’s breakthrough dramas “Mr. Robot” and “The Sinner” starring Jessica Biel, as well as the Julia Roberts-Bobby Cannavale thriller “Homecoming” that grabbed a two-season order from Amazon and the upcoming Netflix drama “The Umbrella Academy” starring Ellen Page.
Olmstead also launched the Wilshire Studios banner to handle unscripted production, with a focus on docu-series, such as Oxygen’s rebooted “Mysteries and Scandals,” and specials, as well as live events for sibling cablers.
McGoldrick has been with NBCUniversal Cable and its predecessors since 1998. He was most recently promoted to exec VP overseeing development for the cablers in April 2016.
With Cheeks giving up his NBC business operations role, those duties will be absorbed by NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke, who will oversee business affairs and production for scripted shows, and alternative programming chief Paul Telegdy, who will do the same for unscripted programming.
(Pictured: George Cheeks, Dawn Olmstead and Bill McGoldrick)