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Category: G4

NBCUniversal names Adam Stotsky G4 general manager

Man3Veteran NBC marketer Adam Stotsky is now officially a gamer.

NBCUniversal announced Thursday that Stotsky had stepped into the role of general manager of the company's tiny G4 television network, which targets young male viewers by attempting to be the TV destination for video game players. 

Stotsky previously served as president of marketing for NBC Entertainment and spearheaded the "NBC: More Colorful" campaign. He replaces G4's president of the last six years, Neal Tiles, who NBCUniversal said was leaving to "pursue new challenges."

Stotsky will report to Bonnie Hammer, chairman of NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, whom Stotsky worked with during his 2001-2008 tenure at NBCUniversal's Syfy network. Hammer took over the G4 network a year ago, when its owner Comcast Corp. assumed control of NBCUniversal.

"I've known Adam for many years, having worked with him at Syfy during an amazing period in the network’s evolution," Hammer said in a memo to the G4 staff. "He energized the Syfy brand and helped take it to an unprecedented place at the top of the ratings. I'm convinced that he can do the same thing for G4." 

The G4 network is available in 59 million cable and satellite TV homes, and its signature programs include "Attack of the Show!," "X-Play" and "American Ninja Warrior."

Thursday afternoon, G4 staff members were invited to meet Stotsky at a town hall meeting at the group's Wilshire Boulevard offices. 


NBCUniversal drops plans for a studio complex

Internet distributors are changing the TV syndication game

Cable TV networks feel the pressure of programming costs

-- Meg James

Photo of Adam Stotsky;  Credit:  NBCUniversal  

NBCUniversal names Beth Roberts to key cable post

One of NBCUniversal's high-powered and well-respected business executives -- Beth Roberts -- has joined Team Hammer.

Roberts on Wednesday was named chief operating officer of Universal Cable Productions, reporting to Bonnie Hammer, chairman of NBCUniversal's Cable Entertainment and Cable Studios unit. Hammer has oversight of several of the media giant's cable channels including USA, Syfy and E!

Beth Roberts - COO Universal Cable Productions The company said in a statement that Roberts will spearhead "the strategic and financial growth of Universal Cable Productions," in addition to overseeing business affairs for the cable channels controlled by Hammer.

Universal Cable Productions has been managed by a committee that includes Mark Stern and Jeff Wachtel, who share the title of co-head of original content; and Jerry DiCanio, head of production, and Roberts. Now she will be in charge of the studio's day-to-day operations.

"As a business affairs executive, Beth has always struck a perfect balance between strategic vision and fiscal discipline," Hammer said in the statement.  "That's exactly what we need to take UCP to the next level, so Beth's new role is an ideal expansion of her responsibilities."

Previously, Roberts served as executive vice president of business affairs for NBCUniversal's large cable portfolio.  Comcast, which took over NBCUniversal in late January, divided the cable properties into two groups, one overseen by Hammer, the longtime head of USA Network and Syfy, and the other group managed by Lauren Zalaznick, who has been responsible for Bravo. Zalaznick was given the more eclectic group, which includes Comcast's digital properties like Fandango and Daily Candy, and Spanish-language network Telemundo.

-- Meg James

Photo of Beth Roberts courtesy of NBCUniversal


Comcast unveils management team for NBC Universal

Comcast unveiled its new executive lineup for NBC Universal on Thursday morning, ending months of anticipation and executive jockeying. Although Comcast has its new team in position, it must now wait until federal regulators approve the cable company's deal to take over NBC Universal, and that is not expected until late this year or early next year.

Comcast Chief Operating Officer Steve Burke, who will run NBC Universal after the deal closes, has created a layered structure with six executives holding the title of chairman. 

BURKE "For nearly a year, we have worked hard to identify people from NBC Universal, Comcast and outside the two companies to form our new leadership team when the deal closes.  Our goal has been to find people who have the skill sets we need to succeed and who reflect the values that will be the hallmark of NBC Universal, including teamwork, integrity, creativity and a commitment to treating people the right way," Steve Burke said in a statement. 

"We have also been very focused on putting in place the best possible organizational structure.  To that end, we have created some new positions, changed the scope of others and shifted some reporting assignments.  We think we’ve developed a structure that organizes the company in the smartest way possible," he said.

The proposed structure, with more than 10 people reporting to him, ensures that Burke will be a hands-on manager, involved in decisions large and small. Burke will serve as chief executive officer, replacing Jeff Zucker, who announced in September that he would step down when Comcast took over.

As expected, former Showtime President Robert Greenblatt will become chairman of NBC Entertainment, responsible for all aspects of prime-time and late-night programming, business affairs, West Coast research, marketing, public relations, scheduling and NBC Universal's television production studio. Marc Graboff and Angela Bromstad will report to Greenblatt.

Ted Harbert, who currently runs Comcast's entertainment channels, including E!, will become chairman of NBC Broadcasting.  He will take charge of advertising sales, NBC affiliate relations, companywide research, domestic television syndication and the NBC TV station group.  Alan Wurtzel, Barry Wallach, Vivi Zigler and John Wallace will report to Harbert.

Bonnie Hammer assumes control of the soon-to-be-merged company's most profitable enterprises. She becomes chairman of the NBC Universal Cable Entertainment and Cable Studios. Hammer will continue to oversee the USA and Syfy channels, and she will take on responsibility for E! Entertainment, G4, Chiller, Sleuth, Universal HD and Universal Cable Productions.   

Lauren Zalaznick's portfolio also expanded enormously. She becomes chairwoman of NBC Universal Entertainment and Digital Networks. Bravo, Oxygen and the website iVillage will continue to report to Zalaznick, and she will oversee strategic marketing initiatives, including Green is Universal.  Zalaznick picks such digital properties as Daily Candy, Fandango, Spanish-language broadcaster Telemundo and the cable networks Style, mun2 and PBS Sprout.

Dick Ebersol becomes chairman of the NBC Sports Group, responsible for NBC Sports, the Golf Channel, Versus and the Comcast Regional Sports Networks. 

Ron Meyer retains his turf as president and chief operating officer of Universal Studios. Adam Fogelson will continue as chairman of Universal Pictures, and Tom Williams will be in charge of Universal's parks and resorts.

Steve Capus continues as president of NBC News and MSNBC.  Mark Hoffman continues as president of CNBC.

Jeff Shell joins NBC Universal from Comcast to become chairman of NBC Universal International. He will be based in London.

Pat Fili-Krushel will join NBC Universal from Time Warner Inc. with a broad portfolio, including business strategy, human resources and legal.

Lynn Calpeter continues as NBC Universal's chief financial officer.  Rick Cotton continues as NBC Universal general counsel and will report to both Burke and Fili-Krushel.  Salil Mehta continues as president of business operations and strategy and will report to Fili-Krushel.  Former KNBC Channel 4 General Manager Paula Madison will continue to serve as executive vice president of diversity. John Eck continues in his role as president of NBC Media Works.

Longtime Comcast communications advisor Adam Miller will join NBC Universal as executive vice president for corporate affairs. The communications department will report to Miller, who currently works at Abernathy MacGregor Group.  Page Thompson will join NBC Universal from Comcast as executive vice president of strategic integration and be charged with identifying synergy opportunities among Comcast, NBC, Universal Studios, theme parks and cable channels.

Matt Bond will join NBC Universal from Comcast as executive vice president for content distribution. Two influential NBC Universal executives, Bridget Baker and J.B. Perrette, will report to Bond.

Advertising sales are split between Comcast executive Dave Cassaro, who becomes president of cable advertising sales, and Marianne Gambelli, who will become president of NBC Network Advertising. The former chief of ad sales and longtime General Electric executive, Mike Pilot, will leave the company.  

Jeff Gaspin, who has been in charge of NBC Universal's television channels since July 2009, will stay on during the transition period.  He and Burke discussed scenarios for Gaspin to remain at the company, but the two men could not agree on a suitable role.  Burke said communications chief Allison Gollust also will step down when Comcast takes over.  

"While this announcement provides some clarity to some roles and responsibilities," Burke said, "it is only the first in what will be a series of milestones as we move into 2011."

Now, the intrigue shifts from the question of which executives will survive the cut to speculation about when Comcast will get the keys to the prominent media company.

The U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission continues to weigh the merger between Comcast and NBC Universal, currently owned by General Electric Co.  Most observers expect the government to attach several conditions before giving its blessing to the high-profile marriage. Comcast hopes the deal will close by year's end, but Washington insiders speculate that regulatory approval might come during the first quarter of 2011.

-- Meg James

Photo: Comcast's Steve Burke. Credit: Comcast.

In Comcast-DirecTV talks over new G4 deal, there's no playing around [Updated]

Looks like satellite broadcaster DirecTV and cable giant Comcast Corp. are headed toward another throw-down. 

G4ART At issue this time around is G4, the Comcast-owned channel that caters to young men with shows about video games, gaming culture and, of course, pretty girls. Its programs include "Attack of the Show," a daily look at gadgets, bizarre lifestyles and fetishes that is hosted by Kevin Pereira and it girl Olivia Munn; "American Ninja Warrior," a competition show; and "The International Sexy Ladies Show," whose title is fairly self-explanatory.

But it's not all sex and games at G4. Last month, the network announced a more serious show: "Bomb Patrol: Afghanistan," a reality version of "The Hurt Locker," will follow soldiers who dismantle explosive devices. "Bomb Patrol," which is being done in cooperation with the U.S. Navy, is set to debut next year.

G4's current deal with DirecTV expires at the end of this month. Last week, G4 took out a full-page ad in the Los Angeles Times touting the network's ratings success with young men that seemed to be aimed squarely at DirecTV, which happens to be based in El Segundo. 

DirecTV pays about five cents per subscriber, per month to Comcast for G4, a person familiar with the deal said.

In a statement, a G4 spokeswoman said, "G4 offered DirecTV the same basic deal we have had for the past three years. However they still plan to drop the network and deny G4 fans the only network that focuses on the popular gaming lifestyle."

DirecTV would confirm only that it is in talks with Comcast about G4. It declined to elaborate on the tenor of the talks. The squabble between the two companies is about to go even more public: Monday afternoon, it will be a topic of discussion on "Attack of the Show." Updated at 4:15 p.m.: G4 opted not to use "Attack of the Show" as a platform to makes its case against DirecTV.

This is not the first time DirecTV and Comcast have tussled over a contract. In 2009, DirecTV stopped carrying Versus, Comcast's sports channel, when the two sides were unable to strike a new deal. That spat lasted seven months and included name-calling between the two media giants.

But when Mike White joined DirecTV as chief executive last year, one of the first things he oversaw was the brokering of a new deal for Versus, which was reached last March. In an interview earlier this summer, White indicated he was reluctant to get into the business of dropping channels.

"It’s like a strike in the NFL. It doesn’t help the game. It doesn’t help anybody," White said.

With Comcast in the process of trying to get its $30-billion merger with NBC Universal through lawmakers and regulators in Washington, the last thing it needs is a blowout with one of its biggest competitors. DirecTV may be betting that it can squeeze Comcast into a more favorable deal.

G4 is not the only sore spot between the two companies. DirecTV is still smarting that Comcast won't give the satellite broadcaster access to SportsNet Philadelphia, its sports channel that carries the 76ers, Flyers and Phillies.

-- Joe Flint

Photo: "Attack of the Show" hosts Kevin Pereira and Olivia Munn. Credit:G4.


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