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THR's Women in Entertainment 2011: Power 100

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    42. Bela Bajaria
    Bela Bajaria
    Executive Vice President, Universal Television

    Bajaria's family moved from London to Los Angeles when she was 8 years old to, as she puts it, "pursue the American dream." Her Indian parents did precisely that, launching what would become a collection of car washes, which her younger brother now runs.

    Bajaria, for her part, decided early on that she wanted to pursue a career in entertainment. "I wanted to be a producer," she laughs of her childhood dream, acknowledging that she had very little idea of what that meant at the time. But with the exception of a brief post-college stint running a nonprofit focused on third-world children, she has been working in the industry since 1996, when she took her first gig at CBS.

    PHOTOS: THR's 2011 Women in Entertainment Power 100

    During her 15-year tenure there, Bajaria, 40, oversaw upward of 150 TV movies and miniseries, as well as the creation of a cable division at CBS TV Studios. (Recent sales at the latter include Common Law at USA and Ghost Projekt at Syfy.) In August, Bajaria, who is one of only a few female executives of Indian descent working in Hollywood, accepted her next professional challenge: rebuilding Universal Television. "I strongly believe, creatively and financially, in the independent studio business, and to be able to work with Bob Greenblatt made taking the job a no-brainer," she says of her role at NBC's sister studio.

    Since then, Bajaria has assembled a team, rebranded the studio and sold shows at all of the broadcast networks. The mother of three spends whatever downtime she has away from work with her writer husband and family: doing math with her 10-year-old daughter, Rami; playing soccer with 8-year-old Sofia; immersing herself in the world of superheroes with her 4-year-old son, Enzo; and assisting her mother, who runs a nonprofit domestic violence shelter in Los Angeles.

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