LOS ANGELES (AdAge.com) -- Comcast said it will shake up NBC Universal's ad-sales ranks after it completes its purchase of a majority stake in the entertainment company. The cable giant also set in place a new operating structure that puts the ailing NBC broadcast network in the hands of two veteran TV executives who do not hail from within the Peacock's ranks.
In a memo distributed across NBC Universal today, Steve Burke, Comcast's chief operating officer who is slated to take control of the company upon regulatory approval for the deal, said "it is important that we are prepared to hit the ground running."
Mike Pilot, who joined NBC Universal in late 2006 from General Electric, will leave the company. Marianne Gambelli, longtime head of ad sales for the NBC broadcast network, will become president of NBC Network Ad Sales. Dave Cassaro, currently head of ad sales for Comcast's TV networks, will become head of NBC Universal's cable advertising sales with Steve Mandala, who currently holds that position, reporting to Mr. Cassaro. Peter Naylor and Mike Rodriguez, who oversee ad sales for digital and Telemundo, respectively, will report to Mr. Cassaro.
Comcast also said it would set new leadership for NBC. Ted Harbert, president of Comcast Entertainment, will become chairman of NBC Broadcasting, overseeing all programming and ad sales departments for the broadcast network. Robert Greenblatt, former president-entertainment at CBS Corp.'s Showtime Networks, will join as NBC's new president-entertainment.
Bonnie Hammer will be upped to chairman of NBC Universal Cable Entertainment, adding Comcast's E! and G4 to her existing oversight of USA Network, Syfy, Chiller, Sleuth, Universal HD and Universal Cable Productions. Lauren Zalaznick will become chairman, NBC Universal Entertainment & Digital Networks and Integrated Media, and will continue to oversee Bravo, Oxygen, iVillage and corporate initiatives like Green Is Universal. She adds oversight of Comcast digital assets such as Fandango and Daily Candy to her portfolio. And Matt Bond will join NBCU from Comcast as its new exec VP-content distribution, with longtime NBC execs Bridget Baker and JB Perrette reporting to him.
As previously announced, NBC Universal President-CEO Jeff Zucker will depart after the deal closes, as will Jeff Gaspin, a longtime NBCU veteran whose most recent charge was supervising entertainment operations on both the broadcast and cable sides. Allison Gollust, exec VP-corporate communications, is also leaving, to be replaced by Adam Miller, a longtime media-industry consigliere working at Havas' Abernathy MacGregor firm. Mr. Miller has a years-long relationship with Comcast senior executives.
Many other departments will remain untouched for the moment, though E! will be searching for a new president to replace Mr. Harbert. NBC Entertainment execs Marc Graboff and Angela Bromstad will retain their titles, reporting to Mr. Greenblatt, while the respective heads of NBC News, Syfy, G4, Style, Telemundo, Universal Pictures, CNBC, MSNBC and other Comcast-NBCU properties will keep their current leadership roles.
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Contributing: Brian Steinberg