NBC Chief Paul Telegdy Leaving As Part of Major NBCU TV Overhaul

Frances Berwick elevated to new role overseeing all cable and broadcast networks

Frances Berwick is taking on a major new role at NBCU, while Paul Telegdy is leaving NBC. NBCUniversal
Headshot of Jason Lynch

Key insights:

The major NBCUniversal TV and streaming reorganization teased by new CEO Jeff Shell during last week’s Comcast earnings call is underway, starting with NBC Entertainment chairman Paul Telegdy.

The new structure will create three horizontally integrated units, all of them reporting to Mark Lazarus, who was named chairman of NBCUniversal television and streaming in May as part of a separate NBCU reorganization.

The Direct-to-Consumer unit will be headed up by Peacock chairman Matt Strauss, who will continue to oversee the streaming service. The International Networks and Fandango segments will also report to Strauss.

Frances Berwick has been promoted to head up the Entertainment Business unit, and will be tasked with creating the programming strategy and content spend across the TV entertainment brands. The role gives Berwick, who previously ran NBCU’s Lifestyle Networks (Bravo, E!, Oxygen and Universal Kids) operational oversight of all NBCU networks and dayparts, in both broadcast and cable.

The third unit, Entertainment Programming, does not yet have a leader, but will consist of separate content groups for scripted, unscripted, late-night and alternative programming.

NBC Sports, which will continue to be led by Pete Bevacqua, is unaffected by this change; Telemundo Enterprises, NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations and Affiliate Relations units are also exempt.

“We have an unparalleled portfolio that is now in an even stronger position to drive growth for the business. With the power of NBC and the broadcast model, coupled with the strong cable entertainment brands and the new addition of Peacock, we have massive scale and a deep library of valuable content that can live across platforms,” said Lazarus in a statement. “We are incredibly fortunate to have some of the most talented executives in the industry leading the charge and am confident that we are poised to win in this competitive landscape.”

During last week’s Comcast earnings call, new NBCUniversal CEO Shell told investors that a new structure under Lazarus would soon be announced, with the aim of unifying the segment’s linear and nonlinear businesses. That move, said Shell, would be driven by the pandemic’s other effects—namely, consumer behavior.

Telegdy’s exit comes less than a week after an explosive Hollywood Reporter story, in which more than 30 producers, executives and other current and former NBC insiders alleged that Telegdy presided over a toxic environment, frequently violating workplace conduct norms. NBCUniversal said it would investigate the allegations, while Telegdy told the outlet, “The nature of these allegations flies in the face of everything I stand for.”

The NBC Entertainment chief, who had run NBC’s reality division since 2008, was elevated to the chairman role, which he shared with George Cheeks, following Robert Greenblatt’s exit in September 2018. (Greenblatt is now chairman of WarnerMedia Entertainment and direct-to-consumer.)

But Telegdy ended up as sole chairman last October, during yet another NBCU shakeup that saw Cheeks shift to vice chairman of NBCUniversal Content Studios in a short-lived role. Cheeks left NBCU in January to become president and CEO of CBS Entertainment Group, replacing Joe Ianniello.

@jasonlynch jason.lynch@adweek.com Jason Lynch is TV Editor at Adweek, overseeing trends, technology, personalities and programming across broadcast, cable and streaming video.