NBC Entertainment's In-House Studio Gets New Name and Key Exec Promotions

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Universal Media Studios will now be known as Universal Television to emphasize the "goal of producing quality television," says NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt.

NBC Entertainment executives have renamed the in-house studio. Formerly Universal Media Studios (UMS), it will now be called Universal Television.

The name isn't really new, though. Universal Television is the old TV shingle of Universal before its 2004 merger with NBC. The studio was renamed in 2007 under former NBC Entertainment head Ben Silverman; the word “media” was meant to underscore a multi-platform approach to content creation. And the new (old) name seems to put the emphasis back on linear television. 

In making the announcement, executive vp Bela Bajaria, who joined NBC Universal last month from CBS Televisions Studios, emphasized the studio's goal to produce content for networks across the television landscape, not just NBC.

“We are excited to embark on the rebuilding of the studio,” Bajaria said in a statement. “This incredible group brings a wide range of experience, great creative relationships and a strong belief in the studio business. We look forward to working in partnership with the creative community to produce quality shows for a variety of networks under the Universal Television banner.”

Bajaria also announced several promotions and additions to her team at the newly christened Universal Television.

Russell Rothberg, formerly senior vp of drama programming at NBC and UMS, will head the studio’s drama department as senior vp, with Erin Underhill, formerly senior vp of current programming, NBC and UMS, becoming senior vp of drama reporting to Rothberg.
Tracey Pakosta – most recently a partner at Green Mountain West, Craig Ferguson’s production company for CBS Television Studios – joins Universal Television as senior vp of comedy. And former Showtime executive Beth Klein joins the studio as senior vp of casting.

An additional comedy executive will also be announced shortly.

“Today’s announcement further demonstrates our commitment to our studio business,” added NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt. “Content creation is vitally important, and this new group will supervise all of the studio’s current programming as well as plan for our expansion into the future. The name change to Universal Television harkens back to a company that was once a juggernaut of the business and will serve to reinforce to the creative community our stated goal of producing quality television.”