NBC Universal Confirms Restructuring

NBC Universal on Monday confirmed that it has restructured its studio and programming divisions, as the rising tide of job cuts has reached the upper ranks of its entertainment unit.

In a statement released Dec. 8, NBCU said that Angela Bromstad was returning stateside to oversee scripted entertainment for the broadcast network and the Universal Media Studios unit, while former Dancing with the Stars producer Paul Telegdy is taking over NBC’s unscripted and specials programming.

Bromstad, who most recently served as president of NBCU’s London-based international production unit, will head all scripted programming, serving as president, primetime entertainment, for the newly-combined NBC and Universal Media Studios units. Telegdy’s new title is executive vp, alternative programming, NBC/UMS.

Both appointments go into effect on Jan. 5, 2009.

In its 728-word statement, NBC neglected to acknowledge ousted UMS president Katherine Pope, who was let go on Friday. Pope had drawn fire for NBC’s spate of fall failures, as much-hyped series like My Own Worst Enemy and Lipstick Jungle struggled to connect with a mass audience. Her contract was set to expire in June 2009.

Pope was named president of the studio in June 2007, a promotion that coincided with word that Reveille programmer Teri Weinberg would join NBCU as executive vp of NBC Entertainment.

Weinberg was also removed from her position last week, although she’ll play out the six months that remain on her contract. Upon the expiration of her original deal, Weinberg is expected to sign a production pact with the studio.

Before joining NBCU, Weinberg was Ben Silverman’s right hand at Reveille.

Also getting recast was Craig Plestis, who had been executive vp, alternative programming, development and specials. Under the terms of his new arrangement with the company, Plestis will launch and serve as president of a new production banner, Apogee Studios, focusing on alternative projects. He’ll continue in his current role until Telegdy comes aboard, and will assist with the transition.

“We are trying to right-size our reorganization,” said NBC Entertainment co-chairman Marc Graboff. “We’re eliminating the multiple number of people involved in the creative organization so there’s the shortest possible line between a writer’s vision and what goes up on the TV screen.”

In a conference call Monday, Graboff would neither confirm nor deny word that other necks were on the chopping block. “It’s not a clean sweep,” he said. “There are a lot of people staying with us.”

News of the re-org came just days after NBCU first announced it would eliminate 500 jobs as part of a $500 million cost-cutting initiative.

Earlier this morning, NBCU CEO Jeff Zucker all but exonerated Graboff and NBC Entertainment co-chair Silverman for the Peacock’s poor showing. “We have not had a good fall at NBC … And I don’t think that’s lost on Marc or Ben,” Zucker said, before adding, “In no way has [NBC] lost confidence” in either executive.