Tag: Universal Television

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/

“The Wiz” Lives on NBC this December as Live Musical Event

b_p_TheWizAccording to Variety.com, NBC has announced it will make its next live musical television event a remake of the 1975 Tony Award-winner “The Wiz.” The remake will air on December 3.

Opening in 1975, “The Wiz” ran for four years on Broadway and won seven Tonys, including best musical. It retells the classic story of “The Wizard of Oz” in an African-American context.

In 1978, the musical was adapted into a movie produced by Motown and starring Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Nipsey Russell and original Broadway cast member Ted Ross. NBC’s announcement of the holiday television event comes at a time when broadcast networks are setting more diversified roles and casting more and more actors of color on TV, following the success of Fox’s “Empire” and ABC’s “How to Get Away With Murder,” among other series.

the wiz nbc musical
Cast of the 1978 “The Wiz” Movie (UNIVERSAL)

“The Wiz” marks NBC’s third such production, following the success of “The Sound of Music Live!,” starring Carrie Underwood, and “Peter Pan Live!,” starring Allison Williams as the title character.

“The Wiz” will be co-produced by Cirque du Soleil’s new stage theatrical division. After the television event, the musical will make its Broadway revival for the 2016-17 season, also presented by Cirque du Soleil.

Casting for both projects has yet to be announced. Continue reading ““The Wiz” Lives on NBC this December as Live Musical Event”