9:35am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Bill McGoldrick Exits as Head of Programming at Peacock, USA and Syfy
Bill McGoldrick, the well-respected head of programming at Peacock, USA Network and Syfy, is leaving NBCUniversal as a result of the conglomerate's restructuring.
The executive, who oversaw both scripted and unscripted programming for the streamer and pair of basic cable networks, announced his departure in a memo to staff Tuesday that came alongside news that NBCUniversal chairman of entertainment Susan Rovner had selected her senior leadership team. (Read McGoldrick's memo to staff, below.)
Sources say McGoldrick campaigned for a role at the company that would have kept him exclusively focused on streamer Peacock. With NBCUniversal consolidating entertainment programming under Rovner, who now oversees Peacock, NBC and an array of cable networks, there was no longer a position that made sense for McGoldrick. The talent-friendly exec, who has a deep roster of relationships with showrunners including Seth MacFarlane, Dick Wolf, Sam Esmail and many others, is already fielding a number of job offers.
McGoldrick first joined USA Network in 1998 and rose through the ranks before departing in 2005 to run originals at Viacom's Spike TV. He returned to USA four years later, adding Syfy to his purview shortly afterward as NBCUniversal merged development for its cable brands. He was personally recruited by newly installed NBCUni vice chair Bonnie Hammer to take on additional responsibilities and head programming for Peacock in 2019. He most recently reported to Mark Lazarus, who was installed in May as chairman of NBCUniversal television and streaming. (Lazarus and NBCU CEO Jeff Shell are overseeing the company's restructuring.)
During his tenure, McGoldrick helped develop series including USA's The Sinner, Mr. Robot, Suits, White Collar, Burn Notice, Monk, The 4400; Syfy's The Expanse, Happy and The Magicians; E!'s The Arrangement; and Bravo's Imposters, among others. During his tenure as Peacock's first head of originals, he developed scripted offerings including the Saved by the Bell and Punky Brewster updates, Mike Schur's Rutherford Falls, the star-studded Dr. Death, the new dramatic take on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air as well as YA entry One of Us Is Lying.
NBCUniversal has shifted its executive ranks from a network-by-network leadership into a consolidated group with Frances Berwick overseeing business operations (i.e. research, scheduling) and Rovner overseeing entertainment content (scripted, alternative) across the company's portfolio. That means execs who may have been part of NBC's scripted team, for example, will now expand duties to include other brands in NBCUniversal's sprawling portfolio.
McGoldrick's team — including Peacock drama head Alex Sepiol and unscripted exec Heather Olander — will now be folded under Rovner's genre leaders. (Read more on Rovner's entertainment content team here.)
McGoldrick becomes the latest high-profile executive to leave NBCUniversal as a result of the restructuring. USA Network and Syfy president Chris McCumber departed in September and was quickly hired to run production company Blumhouse Television. A major round of layoffs is expected to result as part of NBCUniversal's latest leadership changes.
The pandemic, which has caused massive revenue hits across the entertainment industry, has prompted most major conglomerates to restructure. NBCUniversal, Disney and WarnerMedia have all reshaped their executive ranks in a bid to both better position themselves for the streaming era as well as cut costs by consolidating resources and eliminating staffing redundancies. All three media titans have had multiple rounds of layoffs, with more on the way as Disney has only recently begun its reorganization.
Here's McGoldrick's memo to staff:
I wish we were all together so I could tell you in person, but I wanted you to be among the first to hear that I will be leaving NBCUniversal. As we all know, the industry is changing rapidly and our company is transforming in ways that will undoubtedly allow it to continue to thrive, grow and succeed. That said, it has become clear that there simply isn’t an appropriate role for me in the new structure.
Working with this team has been the best experience of my career. I’m proud of all the creators we supported and all the risks we took together. Many creators sold their first project to us, experienced their first series greenlight, or their first Emmy or Golden Globe! Your commitment to every project, to your studio partners — and most importantly, to each other — was inspiring to watch every day.
NBCUniversal and the vast pool of outstanding leaders across the company I’ve both learned from and collaborated with, like Bonnie Hammer and more recently Matt Strauss, have shaped me and my career in ways I could not have imagined when I first joined. Because of them, I feel more than prepared for all the new and exciting challenges to come.
Knowing you all as well as I do, I promise that none of you have reached your full potential in this company or the industry. This year has been challenging in many ways, but I believe wholeheartedly that each of you will come out even stronger on the other side.
You’re in very good hands with Susan Rovner. I’ve known and admired her for a very long time, and know that she will take the business to new heights and that you will all benefit from her energetic leadership.
Thank you for being the best colleagues, collaborators and friends I could ask for.