It's Official: 20th TV's Jennifer Nicholson Salke Jumps to NBC
In what has proved to be one of the industry's worst kept secrets, 20th Century Fox Television's executive vice president of development Jennifer Nicholson Salke will join entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt's team as entertainment president.
The news follows May's announcement that NBC's head of comedy Jeff Ingold would be replaced by Sony TV comedy executive Tal Rabinowitz. Now that his fall programming slate is set, sources suggest the former Showtime executive is focused on continuing to build out his team. For her part, Salke is filling a role left vacant by the network and studio's former president of primetime entertainment Angela Bromstad, who departed after the Comcast-NBC merger was complete. (While Salke will not oversee Universal Media Studios she will have oversight over the network's daytime and primetime efforts.)
Salke, a close friend of Greenblatt's, rose through the creative ranks at 20th TV, where she assumed a top spot developing such shows as Modern Family, Lone Star and Lie to Me under studio chairmen Gary Newman and Dana Walden. In her near decade-long tenure, Salke garnered a reputation for her eagerness to take chances, be it on musical dramedy Glee or Fox's upcoming dino-drama Terra Nova.
Now as she looks to revive a network that has languished in the ratings basement for the better part of the last decade, that sort of noisy, out-of-the-box taste could be a vital ingredient of the turn-around formula. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Greenblatt acknowledged the value of such thinking. "Part of what we need to do at NBC, and maybe it’s true of every network, is get attention and get people to know that we’re doing things that are different and a little bit more in-your-face," he said.
According to multiple sources, Salke's fingerprints are on the new schedule that Greenblatt announced at May's upfront, including the mid-season addition of 20th TV's dual life drama from Lone Star creator Kyle Killen. (Despite fears of similar complexity, Walden told THR that Awake has neither "the conceptual shortcomings" nor the "marketing challenge" of Lone Star. Unlike the lead in the latter, a guy "doing a fundamentally unlikeable thing," she says the star of the latter "is a pure hero.")
Prior to her stint at 20th, Salke developed series such as the WB's Charmed and 7th Heaven at Spelling Entertainment and then WB's Everwood at Columbia TriStar Television. Her husband Bert Salke, also a close friend to Greenblatt, runs News Corp.'s Fox 21 studio, responsible for shows including FX's Sons of Anarchy.