NBCUniversal shuffles TV executive team; sports chief Mark Lazarus gets a big promotion – Los Angeles Times
NBCUniversal Chief Executive Steve Burke has shuffled the management team that oversees the nuts and bolts of the company’s broadcast TV business.
As part of the move, one of Burke’s most trusted lieutenants, Mark Lazarus, received a substantial promotion. Lazarus, chairman of the NBC Sports group for the last five years, becomes chairman of NBC Broadcasting and Sports.
Lazarus, 53, gains oversight of the NBC broadcast portfolio previously managed by Ted Harbert. In a separate memo, Harbert noted that this weekend marks the end of his 40th season in TV.
“The proverbial next chapter lies ahead and I’m happy to say I have no idea what it is,” Harbert said. “I’ve loved working at 30 Rock and with all the great people here.”
In addition to running NBC’s valuable sports operation, Lazarus will be in charge of television stations that the company owns and serve as NBC’s top diplomat in its relations with affiliated stations. His turf also will include network operations and broadcast standards.
“Mark and his team have a winning culture, and the quality of NBC Sports’ coverage is unsurpassed, from the Olympics and Sunday Night Football to the Premier League, golf, NHL and NASCAR,” Burke said in his note to employees. “Mark’s energy, intelligence and character will be great assets to NBC Broadcasting, as they have been at NBC Sports.”
Under the new structure, division heads Valari Staab (TV stations), Jean Dietze (affiliate relations), Scot Chastain (affiliate marketing), Tina Silvestri (network operations) and Alan Wurtzel (broadcast standards) will report to Lazarus.
Harbert’s last day will be Oct. 14. He has been with Comcast for 12 years, including serving as CEO of Comcast’s entertainment group, including the E! channel, before the merger with NBC.
Burke, in his note, saluted Harbert for his “encyclopedic knowledge of the television business, creative instincts and enthusiasm.”
Before joining Comcast, Harbert was president of NBC Studios in Burbank, helping to guide such prime-time shows as “Will & Grace,” “Boomtown” and “Providence.” He spent 20 years in the business at ABC, where he served as head of that network when it boasted such beloved shows as “The Wonder Years,” “NYPD Blue” and “Home Improvement.”
“He has been an important advisor to me and a great colleague and mentor to many of you,” Burke said of Harbert. “I know Ted’s heart will always remain in the television business.”
In other moves, Burke charged George Cheeks and Paul Telegdy with running NBC’s first-run syndication business. Jeff Bader picks up responsibility for the broadcast research group, and Kevin MacLellan becomes chairman of global distribution and international.
Lastly, Maggie McLean Suniewick, a 10-year Comcast veteran, was appointed president of NBCUniversal digital enterprises, a new role in an increasingly important space.