The art of the deal drives Elizabeth Herbst. From her New York office the executive vice president of ad sales at Universal Domestic Television oversees the sale of national barter advertising for Universal's first-run series. (Studios USA Domestic Television last month finalized its merger into Vivendi Universal Entertainment to become Universal Domestic Television.)
Says Ms. Herbst, 40, "I look at the landscape ... before I put together a road map from A to B. It never goes the same way two times in a row."
Ms. Herbst oversees advertising related to the studio's first-run slate of programming, including Crossing Over With John Edward, which took advantage of a new dual-platform trend, in which an original syndicated strip airs both on broadcast TV and basic cable, in this case on Universal Domestic Television sibling Sci-Fi Channel.
She's part of the team that sells Nielsen ratings-standouts Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Special Victims Unit airs on NBC first and 10 days later on USA Network, another sibling of Universal Domestic Television.
"The structure provides a different audience in late night than in prime time, an advantage for the advertiser, and consumers can watch at two different times," Ms. Herbst explains. "Both broadcast entities benefit, both are stronger, not taking from one another."
Ms. Herbst joined Studios USA's predecessor, MCA TV, in 1996 from Twentieth Television, after stints at Tribune Entertainment Co., Action Media and, initially, CBS.
The executive's account list has included Procter & Gamble Co., Kimberly-Clark Corp., Unilever, General Motors Corp., Coca-Cola Co., Johnson & Johnson and Nestle.
Ms. Herbst, who supports part-time flex hours for new mothers in her office, isn't easily derailed.
Universal Domestic Television President Steve Rosenberg says: "Normally, when people need to see me, they will set up a meeting to schedule a time. Not Elizabeth -- she will walk into my office and stand there until I answer her. If it takes all day, she will just stand and stare at me, waiting for an answer."