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NBC Universal Resets Oversight of Cable, Digital, Spanish TV

By: Brian Steinberg

At NBC Universal, oversight of cable, digital properties and Spanish-language broadcasting has recently involved a complex chain of command. Now the company’s CEO, Steve Burke, is attempting to simplify the three operations.

In a sweeping maneuver announced Monday, Mr. Burke handed responsibility of the company’s cable networks to Bonnie Hammer, the popular programmer who built such assets as USA and SyFy into cable powerhouses, and whose current project is building up E!.

Lauren Zalaznick, who had been running cable networks including Bravo and Oxygen while also overseeing Spanish-language network Telemundo, a slew of web properties and some broad marketing programs, will now focus on digital properties as well as general innovation and emerging technology at the company.

Meanwhile, NBC Universal said it had hired Joe Uva, formerly CEO of rival Univision, to run Telemundo.

Since Comcast acquired a majority stake in NBC Universal in early 2011, Mr. Burke has looked to make the company more efficient. In recent months, he has reorganized NBC Sports and NBC News.

“Our business is more dynamic and challenging than at any point in its history,” Mr. Burke said in a memo to employees. “Now, more than ever, we need to simplify our organization and take advantage of the breadth of our assets. At the same time, we need to focus more on innovation and emerging technologies. These organization changes are designed to do just that.”

Ms. Zalaznick, in particular, always seemed to have a rather disjointed portfolio, running female-skewing cable networks while at the same time trying to enlarge digital operations like Fandango and Daily Candy as well as keeping abreast of the increasingly competitive world of Spanish-language TV, an arena in which News Corp. recently launched a new network, MundoFox.

Mr. Uva, who will start with NBC Universal in April, will be chairman-Hispanic enterprises and content.


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