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NBCUniversal’s new TV and Streaming leadership regime is making big waves ahead of its first upfront presentation this month.
On May 6, NBC announced that it would be abandoning original talk show programming in the 1:30 a.m. slot as Lilly Singh’s A Little Late would end in June. Days later, Giuliana Rancic announced she would be stepping down from her role as host of E!’s red carpet coverage following a nearly 20-year run. Her departure came three months after her 14-year co-host, Ryan Seacrest, opted to not return to the gig.
Now, Frances Berwick and Susan Rovner — who together oversee Peacock, NBC and six of the company’s cable brands, including E! — are shaking things up. E! said May 10 that history-making Orange Is the New Black Emmy winner Laverne Cox would take over E!’s red carpet coverage after sources say she was originally earmarked to fill the void created by Seacrest’s exit.
“Laverne Cox is a trendsetter who’s been at the forefront of pop-culture for years,” says Rovner. “Her stellar fashion sense and distinct point-of-view bring a fresh perspective to the brand as we look to the future of red carpet events.”
Additionally, NBC will look to program something other than original talk in the 1:30 a.m. period, though there has not been a determination on what will fill Singh’s void.
It’s worth noting that Berwick and Rovner attempted to rework A Little Late for its second season. After inheriting the show from NBC’s previous regime (the ousted Paul Telegdy and NBC turned top CBS exec George Cheeks), Berwick and Rovner changed showrunners and the set of the series that replaced Carson Daly before what would end up becoming its second and final season.
The moves illustrate a willingness to quickly shake up the status quo as the conglomerate cuts costs on its linear offerings while prioritizing programming for its upstart streamer Peacock.
Meanwhile, Cox’s hiring already is being hailed by GLAAD, whose head of talent Anthony Allen Ramos said, “E!’s selection of Laverne Cox to lead such a high-profile part of their brand in pop culture is a major step forward in transgender visibility and overall diversity and inclusion in Hollywood.”
This story first appeared in the May 12 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.
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