Tag: Jennifer Salke

Barry Jenkins’ Production Company PASTEL Signs 1st Look TV Deal with Amazon Studios

Barry Jenkins
Academy Award winner Barry Jenkins (CREDIT: ERIK PENDZICH/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK)

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

According to Variety.com, Academy Award-winning producer/writer/director Barry Jenkins (“Moonlight“) and his PASTEL production banner have landeda first-look television deal at Amazon.

Jenkins is planning to direct the entire limited series “Underground Railroad” at Amazon, based on Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning novel from 2016. Under the deal, Jenkins will exclusively develop television series for Amazon Studios.

“Barry is clearly a master of groundbreaking, authentically emotional storytelling and we are so proud to have him share that gift with us,” said Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon Studios. “We are incredibly fortunate to have also secured his directorial vision for the entire limited series The Underground Railroad.”

“We at PASTEL are excited to continue our Amazon relationship begun on ‘Underground Railroad’ and look forward to growing that partnership on projects near and beyond,” said Jenkins.

Jenkins’ feature film debut, “Medicine for Melancholy,” was lauded as one of the best films of 2009 by The New York Times. He recently debuted his latest film, “If Beale Street Could Talk,” based on James Baldwin’s novel and starring Regina King and Brian Tyree Henry, at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival. The U.S. release in theaters is scheduled for November 30 of this year.

Veteran NBC TV Executive Vernon Sanders Named Co-Head of Amazon Studios TV

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

Former NBC executive Vernon Sanders has joined Amazon Studios as co-head of television, according to Variety.com. He will oversee creative and production units for Amazon Prime Video.

Sanders will head the TV division with Albert Cheng, who was hired during a reorganization of Amazon’s entertainment division under new top executive Jennifer Salke in April.  Cheng also serves as Amazon Studios COO. “I’m thrilled to announce Vernon Sanders’ appointment to Co-Head of Television for Amazon Studios,” said Salke. “Vernon’s undeniable expertise in nurturing talent and creative material will be a huge asset to our studio. Having worked side-by-side with him for seven years at NBC Entertainment, I can speak first-hand to his talents as a leader and creative force. I know Vernon and Albert Cheng will be a formidable team as we continue to build Amazon Studios.”

At NBC Sanders held posts as executive vice president of current programming and executive vice president of comedy. He also has experience in drama-series development, having been senior VP of drama at the network and sister studio Universal Television. “I am tremendously excited to be joining Jennifer Salke, Albert Cheng and the forward-thinking team at Amazon Studios as they build an incredible destination for high-quality, compelling content,” Sanders said. “My time as a producer has reaffirmed my passion for working closely with creators to champion shows which delight and surprise our audiences. I’m grateful to my family at NBCU for their support as I jump into this new challenge.”

Among the series Sanders worked on while at NBC are “30 Rock,” “The Office,” “Friday Night Lights,” “This is Us,” “The Blacklist,” “The Good Place,” and the revival of “Will and Grace.”

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/

“Think Like A Man” Producer Will Packer Renews Overall Deal with Universal TV Through 2017

Will Packer Universal TV
COURTESY OF WILL PACKER PRODUCTIONS (via Variety.com)

Will Packer has renewed his overall deal with Universal Television. The two-year extension pact takes Packer’s Will Packer Productions banner through 2017 at the studio.

“The Wedding Ringer” and “Think Like a Man” producer is taking a major step into TV this fall, executive producing NBC comedy “People Are Talking,” and sitcom “Uncle Buck,” which debuts midseason on ABC. He’s also set to executive produce the “Roots” revival, which will air next year on History, A&E and Lifetime.

“Talking” stars Tone BellMark Paul-Gosselaar, Vanessa Lachey and Bresha Webb as two different couples who are neighbors and best friends. Packer executive produces alongside writer D.J. Nash with director Pam Fryman. “Buck,” a take on John Hughes’ 1989 film, stars comedian Mike Epps as the title character.

“Will Packer is energetic, passionate, creative and wants to win,” Universal Television president Bela Bajaria commented. “He is a collaborative partner, a hands-on producer and is absolutely the best dressed!”

NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke added, “Will Packer has become such a fantastic addition to our Universal family. We are lucky to have such an enthusiastic and prolific producer so engaged in network television. Will, Korin [Huggins], and their team truly have their fingers on the pulse of entertaining and fun.”

Packer’s other film credits include “Think Like a Man Too,” “Stomp the Yard,” “Ride Along” and its upcoming sequel, which will hit theaters in January. He’s repped by UTA.

article by Elizabeth Wagmeister via Variety.com