2:00pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
Frances Manfredi, Who Brought 'The Office' to Peacock, Exits NBCUniversal (Exclusive)
As Peacock is going all-out to celebrate the arrival of The Office, the woman who negotiated the deal to bring the beloved comedy to the streamer is leaving.
Veteran acquisitions and distributions exec Frances Manfredi has departed NBCUniversal as a result of the conglomerate's restructuring. She has spent the past two decades with the conglomerate and was tapped last year to serve as president of content acquisition and strategy at Peacock. She worked closely with former head of originals Bill McGoldrick and reported to Peacock chairman Matt Strauss.
In addition to leading the auction for library rights to The Office, Manfredi is a streaming rights pioneer who in 2006 spearheaded the first-ever major studio deal with Netflix and worked on Hulu's multiple-year licensing deal that covered shows such as Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Parks and Recreation and Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Additionally, she has overseen off-network sales of shows that include 30 Rock, The Office and Law & Order while forging groundbreaking deals like NBCU and American Airlines and Universal Pictures' pact with HBO.
Manfredi's Peacock job highlighted the increasingly valuable role that library titles play in the streaming era. NBCUniversal in June paid $500 million to regain domestic streaming rights to The Office amid fierce competition from a number of other outlets, including Netflix, where the Universal TV-produced comedy was one of its most watched acquired titles. Manfredi oversaw that process at a time when profit participants on streaming hits like The Office and Friends monitor the deals to ensure they aren't shortchanged by studios looking to give their upstart platforms a boost instead of taking the best offer. Prior to joining Peacock, Manfredi spent eight years overseeing film and TV distribution to basic and pay cable platforms as well as SVOD services in the U.S. and Canada for NBCU. During her tenure, she shaped the landscape of content distribution by combining traditional and new media platform monetization to maximize value across all content genres.
Manfredi been with NBCU for nearly two decades and has worked in its domestic TV distribution and cable sales divisions. She held similar roles at CBS from 1995 to 2000.
Her decision to leave was a direct result of NBCU's restructuring, which consolidated all business operations for NBC, Peacock and all of the company's cable brands under Frances Berwick. The former NBCU Lifestyle Networks chief announced her senior leadership team in September and folded Manfredi's role under Val Boreland, who expanded her duties of buying and curating content from the entertainment and lifestyle cable group to also overseeing acquisitions across all networks and Peacock.
Manfredi becomes the latest veteran exec to leave Berwick's business division at NBCU as a result of the corporate consolidation. Less than 5 percent of Berwick's team, which includes PR, marketing, acquisitions and finance, was laid off in November. As part of the consolidation, NBC marketing chief Len Fogge departed the company after a nearly decade-long run.
The Office leaves Netflix and will stream exclusively on Peacock starting Jan. 1.