Just a little more than a month after officially joining NBCUniversal as the entertainment giant’s television and streaming chief, Susan Rovner has set her leadership team, a move that includes making Lisa Katz sole head of scripted content and splitting unscripted into two units.
In an internal note to staff, Rovner started off by writing that she has spent the past month getting to know the organization, its employees and “watching A LOT of television.”
“I accepted this role because Jeff Shell’s and Mark Lazarus’ vision for this new organization was so compelling that it became undeniable,” wrote Rovner. “Spending these past few weeks with the people charged with executing that vision – not only Jeff [Shell] and Mark [Lazarus], but also Frances [Berwick], Matt [Strauss] and their leadership teams – have given me great confidence that together we’re going to be able to fulfill on that promise of building an unrivaled home for both storytellers and audiences alike.”
Most of the changes involve expanded roles for existing execs, and follow a broader restructuring at NBCUniversal meant to streamline its network and direct-to-consumer businesses. Head of original content at NBC’s network and streaming units Bill McGoldrick is exiting the company.
With NBC co-president of scripted programming Tracey Pakosta leaving to head comedy at Netflix, Katz is now expanding her purview as the lone president of scripted content, where she will be tasked with shepherding development, current programming and casting for both comedy and drama across seven networks and streaming service Peacock.
Rod Aissa, who had just last year expanded his duties beyond Oxygen to also oversee original programming for E!, is now executive vice president of unscripted content, where he will oversee unscripted lifestyle and documentary programming.
Jenny Groom’s role is now expanded as executive vice president of unscripted content, were in addition to popular shows like “The Voice,” “America’s Got Talent” and “American Ninja Warrior,” will be overseeing reality competition, talent competition and game-show formats.
Tracie Wilson, the exec who oversaw the launch of “The Kelly Clarkson Show” and the “Access” rebrand, has been named exec VP of syndication studios. Late-night programming chief Katie Hockmeyer will remain exec VP of late night, while live-event coverage head Jen Neal is growing her portfolio to include streaming as exec VP of live events, specials and E! news.
Rovner’s full memo can be read below:
First, I just want to say what a remarkable month it’s been. I’ve spent the better part of it becoming immersed in this incredible organization, meeting many new people and watching A LOT of television. A big thank you to everyone who has shared their expertise and helped me get up to speed.
I accepted this role because Jeff Shell’s and Mark Lazarus’ vision for this new organization was so compelling that it became undeniable. Spending these past few weeks with the people charged with executing that vision – not only Jeff and Mark, but also Frances, Matt and their leadership teams – have given me great confidence that together we’re going to be able to fulfill on that promise of building an unrivaled home for both storytellers and audiences alike.
And now, I am excited to introduce another group of tremendous leaders to this division. Each of these executives will be charged with finding, developing and nurturing the best content in their respective areas, working across the entertainment television and streaming portfolio – NBC, our six cable networks (Bravo, E!, Oxygen, Syfy, Universal Kids, USA), and Peacock.
Lisa Katz, who in her previous role as co-president of scripted programming for NBC developed and championed critically acclaimed shows including “This Is Us,” “Good Girls,” and “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” as well as breakout hits “Manifest” and “New Amsterdam,” will grow her purview as President, Scripted Content, where she will be responsible for development, current programming and casting across entertainment television and streaming.
With nearly 200 unscripted projects across our eight platforms, we are breaking up unscripted into two areas:
Rod Aissa, who has shepherded E!’s production slate with hits like “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” and “The Bradshaw Bunch” during his tenure running programming for Oxygen and E!, will be EVP, Unscripted Content, overseeing all unscripted lifestyle and documentary programming across the portfolio.
Jenny Groom, an NBC veteran who currently oversees unscripted mega-brands like “The Voice,” “America’s Got Talent,” “Ellen’s Game of Games” and “American Ninja Warrior,” will be expanding her role as EVP, Unscripted Content to include the oversight of reality competition, talent competition, and game show formats across the portfolio.
Tracie Wilson, who led the launch of the successful “The Kelly Clarkson Show” and spearheaded the “Access” rebrand, will be EVP, Syndication Studios.
Katie Hockmeyer, who has played a vital role leading late night programming for “Saturday Night Live,” “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” “Late Night with Seth Meyers” and “A Little Late with Lilly Singh,” will continue in her role as EVP, Late Night.
Jen Neal, who has led E!’s Live Events and News divisions including bringing the highly successful The People’s Choice Awards to the network, will expand her expertise across entertainment television and streaming as EVP, Live Events, Specials and E! News.
We very much appreciate your patience and support as these leaders work to thoughtfully align their teams and develop their own organizational structures, which will take place over the next few months.
The level of experience, expertise and creativity in this collective group is overwhelming, and I am thrilled by the sheer idea of the great television we are all going to make together.