The shakeup at NBC Universal on the eve of cable company Comcast completing its acquisition of the struggling media giant won't mean a new job for former Syfy chief Bonnie Hammer. In fact, it will actually mean more responsibility.
Hammer, who led what was then the SciFi Channel from 2001 until Dave Howe took over in 2008, will retain her current job as head of NBCU Cable -- one of the few reportedly profitable divisions in the cable empire. Along with her current responsibilities, which includes a bird's eye view over Syfy and other cable channels, Hammer also will oversee E! and G4, two of Comcast's existing cable properties.
Steve Burke, the current chief operating officer of Comcast, will become the new chief executive officer of NBCU, replacing the departing Jeff Zucker after five years. Zucker's biggest sin seems to be how he handled the Conan O'Brien/Jay Leno debacle last spring that created a lot of negative press for NBCU at the same time Comcast was measuring the windows for drapes. Leno eventually moved out of his primetime slot and back to "The Tonight Show," while O'Brien left to start a new show on cable channel TBS.
Some of the new faces at NBCU, according to The Wrap, include Bob Greenblatt as the head of NBC Entertainment, Jeff Shell in charge of NBCU's international operations, and Patricia Fili-Krushel taking on the new role of chief administrative officer.
Greenblatt is the former president of the Showtime premium cable channel while Shell moves over from Comcast's programming division. Fili-Krushel was an executive vice president of administration at Time-Warner.
The moves likely will have little effect on Syfy, which has become a powerful cable presence for NBCU over the years, despite the growing success of USA Network and MSNBC. That growth started under Hammer's leadership, and continued when Howe took over less than three years ago.
While Syfy might be riding high, NBC itself is not. It's small handful of genre programs like "The Event" and "Chuck" aren't scoring the ratings the network had hoped for. However, they are not the worst of NBC's problems. The network is teetering on the brink of last place in the Big Four again this year, with little of its new programming lineup outside of "Law & Order: Los Angeles" expected to survive into the next season.
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