Tag: Bob Greenblatt

Pearlena Igbokwe Named President of Universal Television

Pearlena Igbokwe Universal Television
Pearled Igbokwe (PHOTO COURTESY OF UNIVERSAL TELEVISION) 

article by Daniel Holloway via Variety.com

NBC’s drama development chief Pearlena Igbokwe has formally taken the reins of Universal Television as president.

Igbokwe succeeds Bela Bajaria, who exited the studio after five years earlier this week. She reports to Jennifer Salke, NBC Entertainment president.

“Pearlena’s remarkable track record in drama programming at NBC over the last few years made it clear that she was the ideal choice to lead the studio into its next phase of growth,” Salke said. She cited Igbokwe’s role in developing dramas that have helped NBC rebound.

“Her leadership, vision and taste have resulted in an impressive string of drama successes — from ‘The Blacklist,’ ‘Blindspot,’ ‘Chicago Med,’ ‘Shades of Blue’ and the upcoming series ‘This Is Us,’ ‘Timeless’ and ‘Taken’ — that coincides with our return to a top position among networks. Pearlena also comes to the job with a wealth of experience in television movies and comedy and we have no doubt she will lead our prolific studio forward in a dynamic way.”

Igbokwe’s appointment is expected to strengthen ties between NBC’s broadcast and studio operations. The executive has strong relationships with Salke and NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt, with whom she worked at Showtime prior to joining NBC.

Although Universal TV has experienced a great deal of success selling to cable and digital platforms as well as to rival broadcasters, the studio has not been a reliable source of breakout hits for its sister network. NBC’s two biggest dramas — “The Blacklist” and “Blindspot” — both hail from outside studios. Of the three freshman drama series slated for fall on NBC, none originated at Universal TV.

No successor has yet been named to take Igbokwe’s drama-development role at the network.

Igbokwe spent 20 years at Showtime, helping to develop series such as “Dexter” and “Nurse Jackie.” She is well-regarded in television’s creative community, but, having joined NBC in 2012, she is fairly new to broadcast TV, where the volume of original programming running through the development pipeline is far greater than it is in premium cable.

To read more, go to: http://variety.com/2016/tv/news/pearlena-igbokwe-president-universal-television-1201788508/

NBC To Reboot Detective Series “Murder, She Wrote” With Octavia Spencer Starring

Octavia Spencer

According to Deadline.com, NBC is looking to remake one of the most successful female-led series in TV history – Murder, She Wrote – which ran on CBS from 1984 to 1996 and stared Angela Landsbury as amateur detective Jessica Fletcher.  The new version will star Academy Award-winner Octavia Spencer, and is being reimagined as “a light, contemporary procedural in the vein of Bones or Fargo, which follows a hospital administrator and amateur sleuth (Spencer) who self-publishes her first mystery novel.  Set in a day where sensational headlines inundate the news, this woman’s avid fascination with true crime leads her to become an active participant in the investigations.”  Former Desperate Housewives executive producer Alexandra Cunningham is writing and will executive produce with David Janollari.

Murder would mark the first series regular role for Spencer, who won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for The Help. She previously worked with NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt and Janollari on the 2001 Sci Fi Channel series The Chronicle, which the two executive produced and she recurred on.  Spencer’s involvement in Murder, She Wrote stems from an exploratory meeting she took with Greenblatt. “I’ve always considered myself an armchair detective and in a recent meeting with Bob Greenblatt, he asked me what type of character would be able to lure me to TV. Naturally, I said ” J.B. Fletcher” meets “Colombo”… And here we are,” she said.

“I’m ecstatic to have the opportunity to work with Dave Janollari again, and Alex Cunningham a brilliant writer who shares my love for all things mysterious and Angela Lansbury.” Cunningham also spoke of her and Spencer’s shared passions. “Octavia and I are both huge true crime buffs, amateur criminologists, and fans of Angela Lansbury,” she said. “To get the chance to reimagine Murder, She Wrote for a dynamic and multi-faceted actress like Octavia is a thrill and a pleasure.”

Spencer recently wrapped production on Black And White opposite Kevin Costner and is about to begin filming the James Brown biopic Get on Up while also promoting her debut novel, Randi Rhodes, Ninja Detective: The Case of the Time-Capsule Bandit. 

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson