Telemundo Chief Browne to Retire

Hispanic population boom has Comcast taking closer look at network

After putting in more than 30 years at NBC, Telemundo president Don Browne is retiring in June. Browne will celebrate his 68th birthday next month.

Effective June 3, Browne will step down from his leadership role at the Spanish-language network, a post he has held since 2005.

Browne is responsible for all business and programming functions at Telemundo, spearheading its original series development, managing sports and news operations, and overseeing the youth-targeted cable network mun2.

A successor will be named “in the coming months,” Telemundo said.

In a departure from the boilerplate that can usually be found in this kind of network announcement, Browne was not quoted in the official NBCUniversal press release. That said, Telemundo’s new bosses were given an opportunity to wax nostalgic on Browne’s tenure at NBC.

“Don Browne has had an outstanding career as a broadcaster and executive,” said NBCU CEO Steve Burke, in announcing Browne’s impending departure. “Under his leadership [Telemundo] has become an extremely exciting part of our portfolio. We are grateful for what he has accomplished and wish him all the best on a well-deserved retirement.”

NBCU also credited Browne with “playing a key role” in the 2001 acquisition of Telemundo. 

Browne joined NBC in 1979, beginning his tenure as NBC News’ Miami bureau chief. He was named the #2 at NBC News in 1991.

Perhaps as a result of 2010 Census data that suggests the U.S. Hispanic population has grown 43 percent since 2000, Telemundo has been earning a good deal of attention from upper management. During Comcast’s most recent earnings call, CEO Brian Roberts told investors that his team was “very excited about opportunities like Telemundo.”

Once the Comcast-NBCU deal closed in late January, Browne began reporting to Lauren Zalaznick, president of NBCU’s Women & Lifestyle Entertainment Networks. A hands-on media executive, Zalaznick has reportedly been taking Spanish lessons since taking over the Telemundo portfolio. 

Browne is the second high-ranking exec this week to begin transitioning out of NBCU. On Monday, chief diversity officer Paula Madison announced she would retire next month.

As is the case with Browne, a replacement for Madison is expected to be made within the next few weeks.