Telegdy dancing with NBC

BBC exec circles alternative programming role

Paul Telegdy, head of "Dancing With the Stars" producer BBC Worldwide Prods., is in negotiations with NBC to take over the network's alternative programming division.

Telegdy would replace Craig Plestis, who has led the department since 2004 and last year was upped to executive vp alternative programming, development and specials.

Outside of "Dancing" and its spinoff, "Dance Wars," BBC Worldwide Prods. had done most of its unscripted business at NBC, where it produced series "Clash of the Choirs" and "Grease: You're the One That I Want" as well as the upcoming U.S. version of the U.K. hit "Top Gear."

A lot has changed since Telegdy came to Los Angeles from England in 2004 to head BBC's small regional office. He put BBC Worldwide Prods. on the map with "Dancing" and was given free rein, quickly ramping up production on unscripted series and venturing into scripted series through a first-look deal with Sony TV. He started as vp and was promoted to senior vp and exec vp.

In February 2007, Garth Ancier was named president of BBC Worldwide Americas' U.S. operations with oversight of BBC Worldwide Prods. Last month, the company announced that BBC drama chief Jane Tranter, one of the highest-profile TV executives in the U.K., will be relocating to the U.S. to co-head BBC Worldwide Prods. with Telegdy.

"Dancing" has become one of the most lucrative reality franchises on television, but BBC Worldwide Prods. hasn't been able to duplicate its success, and its scripted efforts, including the short-lived drama "Viva Laughlin," have fallen short.

An NBC spokesperson had no comment on the executive shuffle Wednesday, and Telegdy didn't return calls seeking comment. It is not clear whether Plestis would continue to have a role within NBC.

Like most broadcasters, NBC has had a tough year launching new reality shows. Its branded All-American Summer largely fizzled with "Celebrity Circus," "The Baby Borrowers" and a broadcast version of "Nashville Star."

Yet under Plestis' supervision, NBC has managed to maintain a fairly robust unscripted slate that's performed solidly, including "Deal or No Deal," which started off strong and spawned a syndicated version. "America's Got Talent" continued to perform strongly this summer, and "The Biggest Loser" is a ratings stalwart in the fall.

The shake-up follows the recent departure of CBS' alternative head Ghen Maynard, who was replaced with the CW's Jennifer Bresnan.
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