Sticking with the program

New deal keeps Reilly at NBC

NBC Entertainment president Kevin Reilly has signed a new contract to remain the head of programming at the peacock.

Reilly and NBC had been working on a multiyear deal in the weeks after the promotion of Jeff Zucker from NBC Universal TV Group chief to CEO of the entire NBC Universal conglomerate (HR 2/7). Reilly reports to Marc Graboff, president NBC Universal Television, West Coast.

Graboff gave Reilly credit for reinvigorating NBC's primetime lineup during the past two seasons with such success stories as "Heroes," "Deal or No Deal," "My Name Is Earl" and the Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning "The Office."

"He is bringing the quality back to NBC, and it is important to maintain the quality of the brand," Graboff said. "With that come viewers and ratings and revenue."

Finding more breakout hits will continue to be the main goal, Reilly said.

"We are still facing challenges in the ratings against 'American Idol,' but the confidence has returned in the building, we've found the right people in the organization, and the talent believes in what we're doing," he said. "That betters your odds in a business of tough odds."

Reilly scored points with the creative community this season for sticking with critically praised but low-rated freshman series "30 Rock," "Friday Night Lights" and "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip."

It is "highly likely that at least couple" of these series will come back next season, Reilly said.

Reilly's new deal puts an end to a period of intense speculation about his possible departure that began shortly after he was named entertainment president in May 2004.

Sources said another key member of Graboff's team, Angela Bromstad, also is in discussions to stay at the company with a new deal, but it's not clear whether she will remain in her current position as president at NBC Universal TV Studio or in a new role within NBC Uni TV.

Reilly first worked at NBC in programming and development positions from 1988-1994 and shepherded the development of such series as "ER" and "Homicide: Life on the Street."

He left the peacock to become president of Brillstein-Grey Television, where he helped develop such series as "The Sopranos" for HBO, "Just Shoot Me!" and "NewsRadio" for NBC and "The Steve Harvey Show" for WB Network.

Reilly later served as president of entertainment at FX, where he established the basic cable outlet as a player in scripted programming with such hits as "The Shield" and "Nip/Tuck."

Reilly rejoined NBC in 2003, when he was recruited by then-entertainment president Zucker to serve as president of primetime development. He was promoted a year later to NBC Entertainment president after Zucker ascended to a broader post overseeing most of NBC Uni's TV operations.