11:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
NBC's Tracey Pakosta to Head Comedy for Netflix
Netflix has found its new head of comedy.
NBC co-head of scripted Tracey Pakosta has departed the broadcast network and will reunite with her former Universal TV boss Bela Bajaria at the streamer, where she will oversee all comedy originals.
In her new role, Pakosta will have a purview that includes development and current programming for Netflix's slate of scripted comedy, including adult animation and live-action family comedies. She will also oversee the stand-up and comedy formats team. Netflix head of unscripted Brandon Reigg previously oversaw stand-up for the streamer. NBCUniversal, meanwhile, is expected to formalize Susan Rovner's leadership team — including a head of scripted for its sprawling portfolio — this week.
"Tracey is a seasoned and talented creative executive with a true passion for comedy, a sharp wit and a great sensibility for what makes audiences laugh," Netflix vp global TV Bajaria said Monday. "She and I have known each other for many years and I’m thrilled to have her join our original series team at Netflix as head of comedy."
Pakosta comes to Netflix after Bajaria restructured the streamer's executive ranks in October, less than two months after she was tapped to serve as vp global television. Pakosta will take over the role from Andy Weil, who was serving in the role on an interim basis. Weil, who remains at Netflix and will report to Pakosta, filled the brief void created by the departure of longtime comedy head Jane Wiseman, who was among the four high-ranking women who departed the streamer in the past two months. Wiseman, during her six years with the streamer, oversaw titles including Grace and Frankie, Ozark, Dead to Me and Netflix's adult animation slate.
For her part, Pakosta arrives at Netflix after the former NBC comedy head was promoted in early 2018 alongside drama topper Lisa Katz to co-presidents of scripted programming for the broadcast network, replacing Jennifer Salke. In her current role, Pakosta was instrumental in reviving Brooklyn Nine-Nine after Fox's shocking cancellation a few years ago. Pakosta helped to develop the Andy Samberg vehicle during her tenure with studio Universal Television. She moved from UTV to NBC in 2015. Together, Katz and Pakosta oversaw a slate that included Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist and the upcoming Mr. Mayor (starring Ted Danson), Young Rock (from Dwayne Johnson) and The Kenan Show (with Kenan Thompson).
"I've spent many hours watching as a fan, and now I am incredibly excited to join Bela and the Netflix original series team," Pakosta said. "Comedy is my favorite playground, and I can't wait to partner with all of the like-minded creators to make people laugh — we really need it!"
Pakosta had been with the NBCUniversal family since 2011 and helped reinvigorate NBC's comedy brand with Mike Schur's The Good Place, Superstore and the Will & Grace revival. During her time with Universal TV, she helped develop Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Mindy Project and Parks and Recreation. Before joining the studio, Pakosta was a partner at Green Mountain West, Craig Ferguson's CBS Television Studios-based production company. She also spent more than a decade at the former WB Network, serving as exec vp comedy and developing shows including Reba and What I Like About You.
With her role as head of comedy for Netflix, Pakosta will now reunite with Bajaria and Weil. Pakosta served as senior vp comedy development at the studio, reporting to Bajaria when she was president of UTV. Weil was vp comedy development, reporting to Pakosta, from late 2011 to 2015. Bajaria was famously pushed out at UTV in 2016 and joined Netflix months later.
Bajaria, in a bid to break down silos and streamline Netflix's exec ranks, restructured her team at the streamer in October. Bajaria's promotion (over that of longtime head of originals Cindy Holland) was the result of a desire on recently elevated co-CEO Ted Sarandos' part to implement a clear hierarchy at the streamer as well as increase its focus on global expansion. As part of the changes, Bajaria continues to search for an exec to head U.S. series.