Bonnie Hammer Takes Over NBCU's Larger Cable Portfolio; Lauren Zalaznick Refocuses on Digital

6. Bonnie Hammer & Lauren Zalaznick
Jason Merritt/Getty Images; Adam Olszewski/NBCUniversal

Chairman of NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment and Cable Studios; chairman of NBCUniversal Entertainment & Digital Networks and Integrated Media

NBCUniversal's two cable powerhouses saw their plates get that much more full in the wake of the $30 billion Comcast merger. The value of Hammer's flagship, USA, has been estimated at nearly $12 billion thanks to breakout hits like Burn Notice and White Collar. Meanwhile, Zalaznick's mothership, Bravo, is coming off its best quarter to date, with viewership up 35 percent in the coveted 18-to-49 demo, thanks to such pop-culture heavyweights as The Millionaire Matchmaker and the Real Housewives franchise.

As part of the restructuring, Joe Uva has joined NBCU in the newly created role of chairman of Hispanic Enterprises and Content.

Steve Burke is reshuffling the deck at the NBCUniversal once again.

The NBCU chief has added several new cable networks to Bonnie Hammer’s portfolio, while Lauren Zalaznick –formerly in charge of nets including Bravo, Oxygen and Telemundo —will now focus on more strategic digital goals in the areas of innovation, monetization and emerging technology across the company. As part of the restructuring, former Univision chief Joe Uva has joined NBCU in the newly created role of chairman of Hispanic Enterprises and Content, where he will spearhead the company’s growing Hispanic efforts, which includes Univision rival Telemundo and mun2.

“Our business is more dynamic and challenging than at any point in its history. Now, more than ever, we need to simplify our organization and take advantage of the breadth of our assets. At the same time, we need to focus more on innovation and emerging technologies. These organization changes are designed to do just that,” Burke, to whom all three will report, wrote in a note to his staff. The move follows a similar reorganization in the news and sports division, and is in keeping with a larger Burke-lead plan for "symphony" (or synergy) across the larger company's assets.

Both Hammer and Zalaznick will assume their new duties immediately, while Uva is set to join the company April 3rd. Zalaznick’s new title will be EVP NBCUniversal, while Hammer’s cable group will be renamed Cable Entertainment Group. The latter will now include Bravo, Oxygen, Style, Sprout and TV One as well as Hammer’s previous responsibilities: USA Network, the top-rated cable entertainment cable network for seven consecutive years, as well as Syfy, E!, G4, Cloo, Chiller, Universal HD, Universal Cable Productions and Wilshire Studios. As Burke noted, the newly formed Cable Entertainment Group will represent approximately 50 percent of the company’s operating cash flow.

"I know that with this structure Bonnie and her team will maximize the power and profitability of this portfolio.  Bonnie is a natural business leader and a strong creative force," Burke added of Hammer, who prior to the promotion had been overseeing more than 2,000 employees and a particularly lucrative portfolio with 2012 revenue of $4 billion and profits of $2 billion, both up 5 percent compared with 2011.

For Zalaznick's part, NBCUniversal’s digital assets, Fandango and Daily Candy, will continue to report to her and she will oversee our business development for digital, mobile, and social media. She also will continue to be involved with sales and marketing initiatives in the Integrated Media group, including Women At NBCU, Hispanics At NBCU and the NBCU Digital Council.  

"Now that our businesses are doing better and the company is more successful financially it is time to concentrate more on innovation. This is not easy to accomplish in a large company with many lines of business. Fortunately, we have a unique executive in Lauren Zalaznick who will lead the charge," Burke continued of Zalaznick, who he noted will be responsible for "harnessing the power of the NBCUniversal content portfolio to drive revenue across the company, including TV Everywhere and alternative windowing strategies."

In addition to overseeing the company's two Hispanic themed nets, both priorities for NBCU, Uva will work with the  news and entertainment executives to ensure that the company's coverage better represents this shifting landscape. He comes by way of top-rated Univision, where he spent four years as CEO. Prior to that, Uva served as president and CEO of OMD Worldwide Group, overseeing all of OMD’s operations, which he joined after a lengthy stint at Turner.