NBC's Friday morning massacre
After a disastrous start to the new television season, NBC Entertainment today pushed out three of its top programming deputies -- Katherine Pope, Teri Weinberg and Craig Plestis -- amid a major retrenchment of the troubled third-placed network.
NBC Entertainment co-Chairman Ben Silverman is negotiating a new contract with NBC and might be given additional responsibilities, according to one person close to the situation.
Former NBC studio chief Angela Bromstad -- a close ally of NBC Universal Chief Executive Jeff Zucker -- will be brought back from London to oversee programming in a major restructuring, according to three NBC executives who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the situation. The company is expected to collapse its two separate programming entities -- the network and the program production studio -- into one unit.
NBC is also expected to hire Paul Telegdy, a British Broadcasting Co. executive, to be in charge of alternative programming, taking the place of Plestis. He will remain at the company.
The shakeup was first reported by the website www.deadlinehollywooddaily.com
Pope had been in charge of Universal Media Studios, the company's television production studios, until Friday. The outspoken executive had clashed with Zucker and Silverman. Pope has long advocated keeping the television studio separate so that it can attract top writers and producers, and sell to outside networks.
Weinberg came to NBC Entertainment, along with her boss, co-chairman of NBC Entertainment Ben Silverman, in June 2007. But sources said that Weinberg alienated some of her underlings and never fit into the NBC corporate culture. She is expected to stay at the network in a "transitionary" role until her contract expires in June and then become a television producer.
-- Meg James
(Photo: Ben Silverman courtesy NBC Universal, Inc.)