Entertainment Industry

Category: USA Network

USA Network's Shapiro upped to executive vice president

USA Network has promoted Alexandra Shapiro to executive vice president of marketing and digital.

Alexandra ShapiroThe move is significant because Chris McCumber, who was named to co-president of USA Network along with Jeff Wachtel last year, had continued to oversee marketing after his promotion.

Now McCumber is handing over marketing to Shapiro as he becomes more involved in the rest of USA's operations. Wachtel is the programming guru of USA, which has had a strong track record with original programming.

USA, a unit of Comcast Corp.'s NBCUniversal, puts a heavy emphasis on branding. The cable network, whose motto is "characters welcome," is known for quirky shows like "Burn Notice," "Royal Pains" and "White Collar."

Shapiro has been with USA for more than a decade. She will continue to report to McCumber.


USA veterans Wachtel and McCumber tapped as co-presidents

-- Joe Flint

Photo: Alexandra Shapiro. Credit: USA Network


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


'Hawaii Five-0' could become the next billion-dollar franchise for CBS

"Hawaii Five-0" books 'em for CBS. 

Profits, that is.

The sun-drenched remake of "Hawaii Five-O," starring Alex O'Laughlin and Scott Caan, can boast something few first-season scripted TV shows can: It is already on track to turn a profit. 

On a conference call with analysts regarding first quarter results Tuesday, CBS Corp. Chief Executive Leslie Moonves said the company will rake in nearly $5 million an episode with the sale of the show's reruns to Time Warner Inc.'s TNT channel, in addition to license fees paid by foreign broadcasters. Foreign revenue, he said, amounts to $2.5 million an episode.

Hawaiifiveo "This is only 'Hawaii Five-0''s first year and it’s already on its way to being another billion-dollar franchise for us, joining 'NCIS' and 'CSI,' which both remain strong on our network," Moonves said.

Broadcast license fees rarely cover the cost to produce a scripted show, so most TV series do not recognize a profit until the third or fourth season when rerun deals are traditionally negotiated. But in recent years, cable channels have been bidding on promising new network shows right out of the gate. That gives networks such as CBS a greater incentive to produce and own their content.

NBCUniversal's USA Network clinched a deal to buy reruns of "NCIS: Los Angeles" after just six original episodes had aired on CBS, Moonves said. TNT bought "Hawaii Five-O" half-way through the current TV season.

"Quality premium hours are very tough to come by and there’s a bidding war for these types of things," Moonves explained. "The marketplace is very strong both internationally, which continues to grow, as well as domestically.  If you have the right kind of [programs] that aren’t serialized, that have an action component, you can get these kind of numbers. So it’s a great business."

CBS posted revenue of $3.51 billion and net earnings of $202 million in the first quarter. The results surpassed expectations.

-- Meg James

Photo: "Hawaii Five-0" stars Alex O'Laughlin, left, and Scott Caan. Credit: Mario Perez / CBS 


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