USA Network Promotes Jeff Wachtel

USA Network’s programming chief Jeff Wachtel is getting an overdue title bump.

Wachtel, who had served as exec vp original programming since joining USA in 2001, has been named president of original programming for the cable network and has inked a new multi-year contract extension.

Wachtel will continue to oversee all USA original programming, including scripted and unscripted series and long-form and will also continue in his role as co-head, original content, for Universal Cable Prods.

He reports to Bonnie Hammer, president of NBC Universal Cable Entertainment and Universal Cable Prods.

“He is very deserving,” Hammer said. “He has done an amazing job in development and execution of USA’s series, working within the specific parameters of the network’s brand, which is not easy.”

Wachtel has been key to USA’s ratings ascendance to No. 1 in cable, a position it has held for the past three years with its Characters Welcome-themed shows.

The channel is aiming even higher, Hammer said.

“Our goal is to erase the line between broadcast and cable, to make USA the hottest and most successful TV brand out there, and we have the best team to make that happen.”

Last year, NBC Universal’s CEO Jeff Zucker called USA “probably the single most important entity within the entire portfolio.”

Since joining USA, Wachtel has overseen the development and launch of the network’s signature series Monk, Psych and Burn Notice as well as USA’s most recent series additions, transplant Law & Order: Criminal Intent, promising freshman In Plain Sight as well as the upcoming Royal Pains. Wachtel also developed and supervised USA’s earlier series The Dead Zone and The 4400.

As co-heads of content for the recently launched UCP, Wachtel and Sci-Fi’s Mark Stern are responsible for the development and production of all programming for USA, SyFy, and third-party networks.