Heather Olander, executive vice president of alternative development and programming for NBCUniversal’s USA Network, Syfy and Peacock, is exiting the company after nine years. Separately, Peacock content acquisition and strategy exec Frances Manfredi is departing as part of the greater corporate restructuring of the last few months.
Having first joined NBCU in 2011 as senior vice president of alternative programming for cabler USA Network following stints in original series development and current programming at CBS and MTV, Olander is credited with building USA’s unscripted business from the ground up and expanding the network’s footprint in reality. in 2014, Olander folded in programming duties for sister cable network Syfy; in 2019, Olander began overseeing alternative development for NBCU’s newly launched ad-supported streaming service Peacock.
She had previously reported to longtime NBCU programming exec Bill McGoldrick, who had spent nearly two decades at the company and exited a month ago.
Olander’s decision to leave comes as a number of executives have departed the Comcast-owned entertainment giant in recent months, amid a broad restructuring of its television entertainment business. Following the ouster of NBC Entertainment’s Paul Telegdy following misconduct claims, Susan Rovner and Frances Berwick have been named to the top of the business, overseeing creative and business operations, respectively.
Olander’s contributions to NBCU’s alternative programming started with USA’s “Chrisley Knows Best,” which is currently in production on Season 9 and has since surpassed 100 episodes. She followed on that popular series with “Growing Up Chrisley,” “Miz and Mrs” and “Straight Up Steve Austin,” among other unscripted series. She also shepherded reboots of “Temptation Island” and “The Biggest Loser,” in addition to reality competition series “Cannonball.”
Manfredi, meanwhile, had stepped into the role of president of content acquisition and strategy at Peacock in late 2019 after working on the distribution side for eight years prior.