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Jeff Wachtel has been promoted to the newly created position of president and chief content officer at NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment from his previous post of co-president of USA Network and co-head of original content at Universal Cable Productions.
In his new role, Wachtel “will work closely with the presidents and development teams at each network to create compelling content that not only embodies but enhances their brands,” Bonnie Hammer, chairman of NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment Group, wrote in an internal staff memo Monday.
Wachtel also will oversee Universal Cable Productions and Wilshire Studios, working closely with Steve Dolcemaschio, who now becomes COO of UCP and Wilshire Studios.
Chris McCumber, who has served as co-president of USA Network with Wachtel since 2011, will now be the sole president of the cable network.
On the heels of the news that Esquire Network will take over Style instead of G4, Bravo president Frances Berwick will add Oxygen as part of her responsibilities. As a result, Jason Klarman, who was promoted to president at Oxygen in 2010, will be exiting the company.
“After more than five years at Oxygen, I’ve decided it’s time to move on and take on a new challenge. It’s a decision I have weighed for some time and I’m confident it’s the right one,” Klarman wrote in a memo he sent to staff Monday.
The decision to rebrand Style comes as Hammer looks to better define the brands in her cable portfolio.
Read an excerpt of Hammer’s internal memo:
Jeff Wachtel will assume the newly created position of President and Chief Content Officer, NBCU Cable Entertainment. Jeff’s development track record at USA is the envy of the TV business, so it makes sense to maximize his original programming expertise and business savvy by extending his purview across the entire portfolio. Jeff will work closely with the presidents and development teams at each network to create compelling content that not only embodies but enhances their brands. He will also assume oversight of both Universal Cable Productions and Wilshire Studios, working closely with Steve Dolcemaschio, who will become Chief Operating Officer of UCP and Wilshire Studios.
Chris McCumber has been named President, USA Network. Over the past two and a half years as co-president, Chris has proven himself a fantastic leader with a deep understanding of the enormous strength and equity of the USA brand. He has played a critical role in establishing USA as an industry powerhouse headed for its eighth record-breaking year as the #1 network in cable. He is perfectly positioned to shepherd USA into an exciting new chapter.
Frances Berwick will take on oversight of Oxygen in addition to her current responsibilities. Frances has been responsible for generating the aspirational programming that’s made Bravo one of the most buzzed about brands in the business. She’ll not only bring to Oxygen her impeccable brand savvy, but also identify key synergies to bring the same must-see passion to an all-new audience.
I am incredibly thankful for the contributions Jeff, Chris and Frances have made and I look forward to sharing in their future success. They will continue to report to me in their new roles.
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