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NBC executive vp Katherine Pope has been named president of NBC Universal Television Studio.
Additionally, Teri Weinberg, Ben Silverman’s head of scripted programming at Reveille, is rumored to be joining him at the network in the same capacity, probably in the executive vp position vacated by Pope.
Meanwhile, NBC Uni TV Studio senior vp comedy Shelley McCrory is leaving the company.
It was the second weekend in a row for major executive shuffles at NBC, following the Memorial Day weekend shake-up that saw Silverman and Marc Graboff named co-chairmen of NBC Entertainment and NBC Universal TV Studio and NBC Entertainment president Kevin Reilly leave the network.
Pope’s recruitment as head of NBC Uni TV marks Silverman and Graboff’s first key management hire. At the studio, she replaces Angela Bromstad, who remains in discussions for another NBC Universal post, possibly a London-based international position.
Silverman called Pope “an unbelievable executive.”
“This has always been her dream job, just as the job that I’m now doing has been mine,” he said.
Added Graboff: “I have been impressed with Katherine Pope’s talent for many years, and I know she will succeed in this new position.”
Pope has been a rising star at NBC since she joined NBC Studios as a primetime series associate in January 2000. But while she has done a couple of stints at the network, her heart always has remained at the studio.
“Since that first job at NBC Studios, it’s been my absolute dream all along to be at NBC and at the studio.”
Pope appeared a step from her dream job in March, when rumors began circulating about Bromstad leaving and Pope taking over (HR 3/27). According to sources, she was involved in creative decisions at the studio during the past two months.
But amid last weekend’s executive shake-up, Pope was rumored to be considering a departure triggered by NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker’s surprising changes at the top of the company’s TV division.
Pope declined to discuss whether she was close to leaving NBC, noting only that she’s always had a “close working relationship” with Zucker and that the two “sometimes agree and sometimes disagree.”
“This is a company I wanted to be at, a company where I feel incredibly lucky and supported,” she said of NBC Uni. “I’m happy that everything has come out the way it has.”
Still, Zucker, Silverman and Graboff appear to have made a concession regarding Pope in the past week.
During a conference call Tuesday announcing Silverman and Graboff’s promotion, Zucker and Silverman spoke optimistically about keeping Pope in-house. But with regard to the top job at the studio, which Pope had been eyeing, Graboff said at the time that it likely wouldn’t remain a president-level post (HR 5/30). That had changed by Friday night, when Pope was named president.
At NBC Uni TV, Pope is faced with finding a replacement for McCrory, whom Pope called “one of the best executives I know.”
Pope said McCrory’s departure has nothing to do with the current executive changes at the company and that she had “made it very clear back in February that she was going to leave” at the end of her contact in June.
“It was a lifestyle decision,” Pope said. “She always planned to leave no matter what happens.”
McCrory, a 15-year NBC veteran, said leaving NBC is “bittersweet.”
“I’ve collaborated with incredible talent and made lifelong friends,” she said. “But one day you wake up and realize you need a new challenge, and I am more than ready for that.”
Pope declined to say whether she would look internally to fill NBC Uni TV’s top comedy position but noted that “there is great executive talent at the studio.” She expects to name a replacement in the next two to three days.
Overall, Pope said she is not planning any major changes in direction for NBC Uni TV.
“The studio has been doing a pretty good job here, so my goal is to keep it in the direction it has been moving,” she said.
Developing for NBC will continue to be NBC Uni TV’s main priority, but projects by studio-based writers will be taken out to other networks if the shows are considered a better fit there.
As for Reveille, which has been developing with NBC Uni TV under its multiyear, multifaceted deal with NBC Universal, Pope said she wasn’t clear about the future of the company’s scripted development but noted that the studio has several scripted projects with Reveille in active development.
In her 11/2 -year-long stint as executive vp at NBC Entertainment, Pope oversaw the development of such network series as the freshman hit “Heroes” and the critically praised “30 Rock” and “Friday Night Lights” as well as NBC’s roster of new series for next season.
Before switching to the network in January 2006, Pope spent 11/2 years at NBC Uni TV as senior vp drama series, shepherding the first seasons of “House,” “Battlestar Galactica” and “Psych.”
That stint at the studio was preceded by a one-year tenure at the network as vp drama development.
Before that, she worked at NBC Studios, quickly rising through the ranks from associate to vp.
McCrory has been running the studio’s comedy department since 2004, overseeing the development of such critically praised series as “The Office” and “30 Rock.”
Before that, she was senior vp primetime series at NBC Studios since June 2000, supervising the development of series like “Crossing Jordan.”
McCrory joined NBC in 1992 as an assistant. She moved up the ranks to vp primetime series, overseeing the production on such series as “Friends” and “NewsRadio,” and senior vp comedy development.
Weinberg has been a key executive at Reveille, where she has been involved in the company’s hit scripted series “Office,” “Ugly Betty” and “The Tudors.”
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