Rovner to oversee all entertainment programming decisions as part of new structure
NBCUniversal made it official on Monday, naming former Warner Bros. TV executive Susan Rovner as chairman of its entertainment programming division. She starts Monday.
Rovner will oversee all programming decisions at NBCU, including for scripted and unscripted content, late-night shows, and Peacock, its new streaming service. She’ll also be in charge of NBC’s slate of cable channels, including Bravo, E!, USA and Syfy, as well as first-run syndicated programming including “The Kelly Clarkson Show.”
Rovner’s hire is the last piece of NBCU’s new structure under CEO Jeff Shell, which reorganized the television side of the business into three parts: Direct to Consumer, Entertainment Programming and Entertainment Business. Peacock chief Matt Strauss runs the direct to consumer unit, while Frances Berwick heads up the Entertainment Business division, where she’ll work closely with Rovner. Both will report to Matt Lazarus, chairman of television and streaming.
“Susan is the bold creative force we need as we rethink the future of our business,” Lazarus said. “Throughout this process I have been consistently impressed by her strong perspective, track record of success and passion for content. Susan joins a great team that is poised to begin a new era at NBCU.”
Rovner left Warner Bros. TV last month after two decades, where she most recently served as co-president with Brett Paul. Rovner had been seen by many in Hollywood as a top contender to eventually takeover for Peter Roth as chairman of Warner Bros. Television. During Rovner’s tenure, WB produced hit series including “Riverdale,” “The Flash,” “Gotham,” “Westworld,” “Watchmen,” “You,” “Shrill” and “Ted Lasso.”
Shell has overhauled NBCU’s TV and streaming operations since taking over for Steve Burke in January, ousting Paul Telegdy as NBC Entertainment chairman which kicked off the reorganization. Telegdy had been accused of numerous instances of toxic behavior, along with unscripted chief Meredith Ahr, the latter’s fate is still to be determined. Longtime USA and Syfy Network head Chris McCumber has also exited as part of the reorganization.
“I have such enormous respect for Jeff Shell and Mark Lazarus, and their vision for the future of content at NBCU made this an extraordinary opportunity,” Rovner said. “I have long admired Frances Berwick and look forward to what I know will be a successful partnership. NBCU has a deep-rooted tradition of having the best programming from visionary creators, and I feel so grateful for the opportunity to join this incredible organization as it builds on that legacy to head into the future.”