USA veterans Jeff Wachtel and Chris McCumber chosen to run cable TV network as co-presidents
USA, the television network, that is. Jeff Wachtel, the longtime president of original programming, and Chris McCumber, the head of marketing and digital strategy, were promoted to co-presidents of the USA Network, the most profitable channel in the NBCUniversal constellation.
The two men will continue to report to Bonnie Hammer, who took on new responsibilities, including management of the E! channel, in January when Comcast Corp. assumed control of NBCUniversal.
"USA will remain a top priority for me, and I can't think of a better team to build on the network's incredible momentum," Hammer said in a prepared statement. She also oversees the Syfy channel.
A dual presidency is unusual. No other NBCUniversal channel has two people at the top. The structure underscores the different strengths of the two executives, and their importance in building USA into a powerhouse cable channel. "Their collaborative style is a critical part of USA's DNA and a key component of the network's success," Hammer said.
Both men have been with the network since 2001. Three years ago, McCumber was named executive vice president of marketing, digital and brand strategy. He was responsible for the creation and execution of the "Characters Welcome" branding campaign, which sought to unite the disparate themes of the original shows that run on USA, including professional wrestling.
Wachtel has shepherded the development of the USA's slate of original programming, including such shows as "Burn Notice," "Royal Pains," "Psych" and "In Plain Sight."
-- Meg James
Photos of Jeff Wachtel (top left) and Chris McCumber (bottom right) courtesy of NBCUniversal