NBC Uni ups Baker to head of TV nets unit

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NEW YORK -- NBC Universal said Monday that it has promoted longtime executive Bridget Baker to president of NBC Universal Television Networks Distribution.

Baker's appointment is one in a series of moves NBC Uni is making with the impending departure of David Zaslav, president of NBC Uni Cable and Domestic TV and New Media Distribution. Zaslav announced last month that he would leave to become president and CEO of Discovery Communications.

Baker will report to Jeff Zucker, CEO of the NBC Uni Television Group. She had been executive vp cable distribution at NBC Uni, reporting to Zaslav.

Her new job gives Baker responsibility for all television distribution for the company -- from Bravo and CNBC to Telemundo and NBC Weather Plus. Reporting to her will be Henry Ahn, senior vp cable network distribution; Jodi Brenner, senior vp legal/business affairs; Mark Hotz, senior vp marketing; Alyssa Donelan, vp communications/media relations; and Erica Goldman, vp events/marketing.

NBC Uni said it will make further announcements about dividing Zaslav's responsibilities soon.

In an interview Monday, Zaslav praised Baker, whom he has worked with for 18 years.

"She's got that extraordinary balance of charisma and ability to connect with people," Zaslav said. "And on the other side, she's one of the toughest and most knowledgeable negotiators. I'm just thrilled they've given her a huge nod; she's going to do a fantastic job running the cable distribution group."

Baker has worked at NBC since 1988. She was a key member of the launch team of CNBC, negotiating the charter affiliation agreements for the then-Consumer News Business Channel as well as having a key role in the company's cable distribution deals ever since. She also has been in charge of NBC Uni's on-demand and pay-per-view efforts as well as high-definition and new digital channels.

Baker is on the boards of Women in Cable and Telecommunications and Pitzer College and is in charge of the Los Angeles Hub of the GE Women's Network. She earned a WICT Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004, among other honors.

Before joining NBC, she was an aide to Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska.
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