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NBC Names Pearlena Igbokwe New Drama Head

Pearlena Igbokwe Headshot - P 2012
Pearlena Igbokwe

The Showtime veteran replaces Laura Lancaster, who will serve as a consultant to help with the transition.

NBC has found its new executive vp drama programming.

A day after Laura Lancaster departed the post, NBC on Tuesday named Pearlena Igbokwe as her replacement, effective immediately. Lancaster will segue into a consulting role to help with the transition.

Igbokwe will oversee the development of all of NBC's dramas and report to NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke.

"Pearlena has forged an impressive track record over her successful career that has earned her the admiration of the creative community," Salke said in a release. "She will bring a unique perspective to development that will help us reach our goal of once again making NBC the home of some of the best and most respected dramas on television.”  

Igbokwe becomes the latest Showtime staffer to follow Greenblatt to NBC. She leaves the premium cable network after a 20-year tenure, during which she developed the pilot and oversaw each season of Dexter, one of the series that helped put Showtime on the map with original programming. Her credits also include Nurse Jackie and The Big C and the upcoming drama Masters of Sex.

"Pearlena is hands-down one of the best creative executives I've ever worked with, and I'm thrilled she is coming to NBC,” Greenblatt said. "She will be instrumental in reinvigorating our drama slate and making the network a haven for the top creative people in our business."

Lancaster left NBC late Monday after a six-year run as exec vp drama programming, during which time she oversaw the launch of Heroes, Friday Night Lights and short-lived entries The Playboy Club and Prime Suspect.

The executive was part of the incumbent staff that Greenblatt inherited when he boarded the network as entertainment chief.

At May's upfront presentation in New York, Lancaster touted the return of successful first-year dramas Grimm and Smash, the latter of which Greenblatt brought with him from Showtime. Although both series were renewed, NBC has struggled to find a breakout drama as it works to improve its standing in the ratings. (With a hefty boost from the Super Bowl, the Peacock pushed ahead of ABC to end the TV season ranked third.)

Lancaster's upcoming drama slate includes fall launches Revolution and Chicago Fire as well as midseason entries Do No Harm and Infamous. While NBC ordered the four dramas, its series orders this year were dominated by seven comedies, including efforts from Ryan Murphy and Josh Gad.

E-mail: Lesley.Goldberg@thr.com; Twitter: @Snoodit