London – 10 September 2013 – Kevin MacLellan has been promoted to the role of Chairman, NBCUniversal International, following Jeff Shell’s move to Chairman, Universal Filmed Entertainment Group in Los Angeles.
With more than 25 years of experience in international and domestic television production, programming and management, MacLellan is based in London. Effective immediately, MacLellan will take responsibility for day-to-day operations and lead international expansion opportunities, increasing non-US revenues and driving collaborative business growth across NBCUniversal operations outside North America, including Theatrical, Home Entertainment, Theme Parks and Television distribution, networks and production. Additionally, MacLellan will continue Shell’s prior remit in supporting Comcast’s overseas expansion strategy. In his new role, MacLellan will join the Executive Committee of NBCUniversal.
Steve Burke commented, “Over 12 years with Comcast, Kevin MacLellan has proven himself to be a dynamic and talented executive. With his extensive international experience, I am confident Kevin’s strategic leadership will take NBCUniversal International into its next phase of growth.”
Belinda Menendez (President, International TV Distribution & Universal Networks International) and Michael Edelstein (President, International Television Production) will continue to report to MacLellan in his new capacity. Additionally, MacLellan will work in close partnership with David Kosse (President, International, Universal Pictures), overseeing international film operations and Eddie Cunningham (President, UPIE), who manages Universal’s international home entertainment business. READ MORE »
UPDATED: More top executive realignment at NBCU Cable Entertainment. In addition to Jeff Wachtel becoming President and Chief Content Officer, NBCU Cable Entertainment and Chris McCumber being named President, USA Network, Bravo topper Frances Berwick will take on oversight of Oxygen in addition to her current responsibilities. Jason Klarman, who had served as Oxygen Media president since 2010, is leaving the company (read his company memo below). “Frances has been responsible for generating the aspirational programming that’s made Bravo one of the most buzzed about brands in the business,” NBCU Cable Entertainment Bonnie Hammer said. “She’ll not only bring to Oxygen her impeccable brand savvy, but also identify key synergies to bring the same must-see passion to an all-new audience.” Berwick’s promotion consolidates two of NBCU’s pop culture brands, which also include E!. The fourth NBCU cable network with similar focus, Style, is being rebranded as Esquire Network, also part of the big changes unveiled today by Hammer after giving them “months of careful thought.”
After more than five years at Oxygen, I’ve decided it’s time to move on and take on a new challenge. It’s a decision I have weighed for some time and I’m confident it’s the right one.
LOS ANGELES—NCLR (National Council of La Raza) and Comcast NBCUniversal announce a partnership to air the “2013 NCLR ALMA (American Latino Media Arts) Awards®” LIVE on MSNBC with programming on MSNBC, mun2 and digital platforms including mun2.tv and Telemundo.com. The “2013 NCLR ALMA Awards” on MSNBC will be live for the first time since its inception in 1995. The telecast, during National Hispanic Heritage Month, will celebrate the contributions of Latinos in the entertainment industry with a look back at this year’s outstanding achievements; tributes to career excellence, outstanding causes and philanthropy; and inspiring music performances and acts. The barrier-breaking awards show is the only nationally televised prime-time English-language program celebrating Latino contributions to entertainment and media. In addition to the live “NCLR ALMA Awards” special, MSNBC will also present a one-hour news special discussing issues impacting the Latino community. The special will draw on the most important issues that the Latino community and the country are facing, such as immigration reform and education, as well as the causes featured by the honorees of the awards tributes.
Steve Burke‘s previous deal, made in late 2009, was due to expire at the end of 2014. Now it will run through August 2018, with an 18% increase in his base salary to $2.6M while his annual cash …
Charles Kennedy has been named EVP, Research and Insights, NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment Group. Kennedy joins from ABC where he served as SVP of Research. Liz …
Steve Burke Says ‘Despicable Me 2′ Is Universal’s Most Profitable Film Ever And Lauds Pact With Legendary
NBCUniversal chief Steve Burke made his observations this morning in Comcast‘s Q2 conference call with analysts as he discussed his company’s approach to films following its new production and finance partnership with Legendary Entertainment. Burke …
The cable systems drive the big numbers for Comcast. But the entertainment operations contributed to the strong results in Q2, including an uptick at Universal which benefited from the success of Fast And Furious 6. The media giant reported net income of $1.74B, +28.6% vs the period last year, on revenues of $16.3B, +7%. The revenue number topped expectations for $16.0B. Earnings at 65 cents a share also beat the 63 cents that analysts anticipated. The NBCUniversal operations contributed $6B in revenue, +8.9%, but the filmed entertainment and cable network operations helped to power a 21.3% gain in operating cash flow to $1.2B. The cable nets saw ad sales rise 5.7% while distribution revenues were up 4.4% — leading to a 7.7% increase in revenues to $2.4B and an 8.9% improvement in operating cash flow to $860M. NBC’s broadcast operations also improved with a 13% pickup in ad sales and rising fees from retransmission consent deals. It wound up with $1.7B in revenues, +11.6%, and operating cash flow of $206M, +6.4%. Filmed entertainment joined in with $1.4B in revenues, +12.8%, and operating cash flow of $33M — up from last year’s $83M loss. But the theme parks struggled financially in a quarter without much help from the Easter holiday, which contributed more to Q1 this year, and as the company increased spending to improve attractions. The unit generated $546M in revenue, +1.1%, while operating cash flow fell 1.6% to $231M. Meanwhile, at the core cable business, Comcast ended the quarter with 21.8M video customers, down 176,000 — which compares to the 159,000 sub loss in the quarter last year. With help from rate hikes and high-speed internet services, though, the systems generated $10.5B in revenue, +5.8%, with operating cash flow of $4.3B, +5.7%.
The worst-kept secret in town is a five-year deal that includes access to NBCUniversal‘s theme park business, something former partner Warner Bros could not provide, as well as to parent Comcast’s “Symphony” initiative that will give its projects promotional support across all of the company’s divisions. And Universal will have an inroad to China thanks to Legendary‘s recent deal with China Film Group that allows them to jointly produce tentpole films for the global market for an initial three years. Here’s today’s release:
UNIVERSAL CITY, CA, July 10, 2013 — Universal Pictures and Legendary Entertainment will enter into a multi-year film partnership in which the two companies will produce and co-finance Legendary and Universal films with Universal distributing Legendary films worldwide. Making Universal its new home enables Legendary to not only leverage the power and success of Universal’s film business and theme parks, but also the cross promotional support from NBCUniversal and Comcast assets through the company’s “Symphony” program. The announcement was made today by Universal Pictures Chairman Adam Fogelson and Co-Chairman Donna Langley and Legendary Entertainment Chairman and CEO Thomas Tull.
“Comcast and NBCUniversal’s global assets in film, television and theme parks offer Legendary unmatched breadth and opportunity to grow our business. We are delighted to be in business with this exceptional team and look forward to a successful partnership,” said Tull.
Universal and Legendary’s film partnership is a complementary arrangement for both companies. Legendary, which is known for producing and financing successful large scale films, will continue to create and finance tent pole films based on intellectual property that is uniquely appealing to the coveted fanboy audience. And Universal, which has a proven track record of turning films of all shapes and sizes into hits with special skills in growing and nourishing original franchises, will market, co-finance and distribute Legendary films for five years beginning in 2014.
UPDATE: Brett Ratner’s RatPac Could Be Lead Funder With Dune In Warner Bros’ Potential $450M-Plus Slate Deal
UPDATE, 1:45 PM: More details are emerging on this possible deal. We’re hearing that RatPac Entertainment, the tie-up of producer-director Brett Ratner and Australian media tycoon James Packer, would be the majority partner in the possible Warner …
EXCLUSIVE: Style Media has signed a development deal with the guys behind the Twitter-to-Web series Sh*t Girls Say to take their wide-eyed, brunette star and have her explore the worlds of fashion, beauty and lifestyle. In case you’ve been living under a flat rock: Sh*t Girls Say started out as a Twitter account poking fun at the way two guys — photographer-filmmaker-director Graydon Sheppard and writer/graphic designer Kyle Humphrey — observe women talking to friends, strangers, co-workers, and themselves. All comments come out of the mouth of the one girl — played by Sheppard. Humphrey drew the short straw and plays the boyfriend. First tweet: “Could you pass me that blanket?” debuted on April 7, 2011. Nearly 2 million Twitter followers, a four-episode web series with nearly 36 million views, one Sh*t Girls Say book, and thousands of parodies later, they’ve hooked up with Style and StyleNetwork.com — owned by NBCUniversal, and targeting women 18-49 “seeking to fuel their insatiable appetite for looking great and living stylishly.” (Style Network telecasts Tia & Tamera, Jerseylicious and Giuliana & Bill to 76 million subscribers).
Look out Katie Couric — NBCUniversal announced today it’s launching a syndicated talker starring your most successful Today show replacement to date, Meredith Vieira. The Meredith Vieira Show will debut in fall 2014. Vieira recently shot the pilot for the new series; she had begun talks with NBCU for the project shortly after she announced in January she was leaving Disney’s syndicated game show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire after 11 years. Vieira, following in the footsteps of her Today predecessors Jane Pauley and Couric, is expected to do a lighter show than Pauley’s short-lived talker, or Couric’s current Disney syndicated show, playing off Vieira’s 11-year Millionaire run and her years air-traffic controlling on ABC’s gaggle show The View. No pickups were announced today, but the NBC station group has not committed to a new show to succeed freshman Jeff Probst, which did not get renewed, and may keep the 2 PM slot warm with temporary programming.
A former Saturday Night Live intern and a former MSNBC intern are the latest unpaid workers to take to the courts. Monet Eliastam and Jesse Moore filed a proposed class action complaint today against NBCUniversal in federal court in New York. “By misclassifying Plaintiffs and hundreds of workers as unpaid or underpaid interns, NBCUniversal has denied them the benefits that the law affords to employees, including unemployment, workers’ compensation insurance, social security contributions, and, most crucially, the right to earn a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work, says the 23-page complaint (read it here). The proposed class action goes after NBCUniversal for labor law violations in using what are essentially free workers. “A key part of NBCUniversal’s success are the hundreds of unpaid or underpaid interns who work for it as production assistants, researchers, and delivery-people, but receive no or very little compensation for their work,” it adds.
NBCUniversal‘s cable news network said this month that it will offer “in-depth, continuing coverage” of George Zimmerman’s murder trial, including going live “as news warrants.” This morning’s opening arguments indeed were live on MSNBC — and the network ended up having to apologize for it. No delay was in place as prosecutor John Guy began with a pointed quote from the defendant: “F—ing punks. These assholes always get away.” Chuck Todd, host of MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown and NBC News‘ chief White House correspondent, immediately apologized for the profanity and vowed that the network would deploy a delay going forward. But at least one other uncensored f-word also aired live. This is exactly the kind of scenario NBCU execs had in mind when they asked the FCC last week to consider revamping its policies on broadcast indecency.