THR's Women in Entertainment 2011: Power 100
In January, Zalaznick's NBCUniversal portfolio -- which already included Bravo, Oxygen and iVillage, as well as multiple company-wide initiatives (Green Is Universal, Women at NBCUniversal) -- expanded significantly. With the Comcast merger, she added oversight of Style, mun2, PBS Sprout, Spanish language broadcaster Telemundo and digital destinations DailyCandy, Swirl and Fandango. If you're counting, that's five cable networks, one broadcaster and four digital properties -- and Zalaznick still manages the integrated strategic marketing group, which includes those aforementioned initiatives.
This year, Bravo will notch its sixth consecutive best year ever among all key demos on the strength of the resilient Real Housewives and Top Chef franchises and Style is on track to deliver its most-watched season ever. If Oxygen has seen its ratings plateau after years of steady growth, The Glee Project has at least brought younger viewers to the network. The forward-looking growth strategy for the clutch of cable channels is "more good original content. Period," Zalaznick says. "It's very clear. It's also very tough," she adds. "But it's not like we're in a cloud, don't know what to do, hair on fire. We know what to do."
To that end, Zalaznick, 48, says all three networks will see a lot more original programming hours in 2012. And Telemundo, which also will hit a high-ratings mark this year, will get thousands of hours of valuable sports programming beginning in 2015 with the addition of FIFA World Cup soccer in a $625 million deal (it outbid incumbent and top-rated Spanish-language broadcaster Univision for the rights). Live sports are the holy grail in an increasingly time-shifted and streaming television universe. (Zalaznick characterizes the World Cup acquisition as "a very big deal.") And it's not just a boost for Telemundo, which will get the marquee events, but also for younger-skewing bilingual network mun2, which also will see some World Cup programming.
Her demanding professional responsibilities do not leave room for much downtime, though she likes to read novels. She's reading Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs biography, recently "powered through" Jeffrey Eugenides' Brown University–set The Marriage Plot (she's an alum of the school) and has purchased -- but hasn't yet dug into -- the 900-plus-page 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami.
What little leisure time she has helps her focus. "There are really only two things: You're at work or you're at home with your family," says Zalaznick, who lives in Manhattan's Greenwich Village with her husband, two teenage daughters and a 9-year-old son.
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