Tag: “Nurse Jackie”

Pearlena Igbokwe Named President of Universal Television

Pearlena Igbokwe 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/

Anna Deavere Smith Wins $300,000 Gish Prize

Anna Deavere Smith.
Anna Deavere Smith (Photo: Evan Agostini/AP)

One of the largest prizes awarded in the arts, the $300,000 Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize, is going to the actress and author Anna Deavere Smith.

The prize, now in its 19th year, was established by Lillian Gish’s will and is awarded “to a man or woman who has made an outstanding contribution to the beauty of the world and to mankind’s enjoyment and understanding of life.” Ms. Smith, a familiar figure on stage, television and film, was chosen from a list of 30 finalists.

Darren Walker, vice president for education, creativity and free expression for the Ford Foundation and a member of the selection committee, credited Ms. Smith with creating “what is in some ways a new art form,” and using her position as an artist and educator “to address today’s major social issues.”

Ms. Smith, who burst onto the theater scene in the 1990s with one-woman shows like “Fires in the Mirror” (about the 1991 riot in Crown Heights) and “Twilight: Los Angeles” (about violence that erupted in 1992 after the acquittal of police officers in connection with the beating of Rodney King), is now a regular presence on television in the Showtime series “Nurse Jackie.” In addition to writing books and appearing in films, she is also a professor at New York University’s Performance Studies Department.

“The Gish Prize provides credibility and recognition for artists who invented a new path for themselves and their work,” Ms. Smith said. The prize will be formally presented in a private ceremony on Feb. 13th.

article by Patricia Cohen via nytimes.com