Jason Katims Inks New Deal With Universal TV, Hires Michelle Lee As Development Exec

By | Friday June 29, 2012 @ 5:31pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Jason Katims, the Emmy-winning writer-executive producer behind Friday Night Lights and Parenthood, has extended his relationship with the studio behind both series, Universal Television, in a new overall deal. Under the two-year pact, Katims will continue as … Read More »

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Veteran Showtime Executive Pearlena Igbokwe Eyes Universal TV Position

By | Monday June 25, 2012 @ 11:24am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Pearlena Igbokwe Universal TelevisionEXCLUSIVE: Showtime‘s SVP Programming Pearlena Igbokwe may reunite with her former Showtime boss Bob Greenblatt at NBC. I’ve learned that Igbokwe is being considered for a new head of current programming position at Universal Television. The studio had been mulling the addition of a current executive in light of its increased volume: Uni TV is adding eight new series heading into next season on top of its returning ones.

Igbokwe, a beloved executive at Showtime, just left the pay cable network after 20 years as her contract was up this month. She was replaced by Imagine TV veteran Robin Gurney, who recently left the production company and is reuniting with her former Imagine TV boss David Nevins at Showtime. I hear that, after spending virtually her entire career at Showtime, Igbokwe had been looking for new opportunities. “It was very bittersweet for her to leave and plenty of tears were shed on her last day,” one insider said. “Pearlena is a wonderful executive, and equally important, she is a high-quality, kind person filled with integrity.” Read More »

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DJ Nash Inks Overall Deal With Universal TV, Joins ‘Up All Night’ As Exec Producer

By | Wednesday May 30, 2012 @ 2:12pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

DJ Nash Universal TVEXCLUSIVE: Comedy writer-producer DJ Nash has signed an overall deal with Universal TV. Under the two-year pact, Nash will develop new projects and serve as an executive producer on the studio’s Up All Night, working alongside … Read More »

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Liz Brixius Signs Deal With Universal TV

By | Tuesday April 24, 2012 @ 3:39pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Liz Brixius Nurse JackieEXCLUSIVE: Nurse Jackie co-creator Liz Brixius has signed an overall deal with Universal Television. The rich two-year pact reunites Brixius with former Showtime entertainment president Bob Greenblatt, who developed and put Nurse Jackie on the air … Read More »

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Comedy Writer Matt Hubbard Signs Overall Deal With Universal Television

By | Monday April 23, 2012 @ 10:33am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Emmy-winning comedy writer-producer Matt Hubbard (30 Rock) has closed an overall deal with Universal Television. Under the two-year pact, he will develop and supervise new projects for the studio. “Matt is a unique, funny and sophisticated writer,” Universal TV … Read More »

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Writer Michael Oates Palmer Signs Overall Deal With Universal Television

By | Thursday April 19, 2012 @ 5:08pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Writer-producer Michael Oates Palmer (The West Wing) has signed a two-year overall deal with Universal Television. The pact, which starts in June, comes on the heels of Palmer developing two hourlong projects at Universal TV’s sister network NBC — American Read More »

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Universal Television Ramps Up Talent Roster As Part Of Rebuilding Effort

By | Tuesday March 27, 2012 @ 1:55pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Universal Television has closed about a half-dozen overall deals over the past few weeks, with several more in the works. The completed pacts include renewals for Peter Berg & Sarah Aubrey’s production company Film 44 and writers Alexandra Cunningham and … Read More »

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Writer-Producer Michael Pennie Signs Deal With Universal TV

By | Tuesday March 27, 2012 @ 10:37am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Comedy writer-producer Michael Pennie has signed a new two-year overall deal with Universal Television. Pennie first inked a deal at the studio (then UMS) in 2010 when he was coming off a stint as a co-executive producer on the … Read More »

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‘Parenthood’ Co-Executive Producer Sarah Watson Inks Overall Deal With Universal TV

By | Monday March 26, 2012 @ 5:19pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Parenthood Co-Executive Producer Sarah Watson has signed a two-year overall deal with Universal Television, the studio behind the NBC dramedy. This marks the first overall pact for Watson, who has been on Parenthood since day one, rising through the … Read More »

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‘Luther’ Creator Neil Cross Signs Overall Deal With Universal Television

By | Monday March 26, 2012 @ 2:25pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Neil Cross LutherEXCLUSIVE: British novelist-screenwriter Neil Cross, creator of the BBC series Luther, is coming to American television. In his first formal U.S. TV pact, Cross has signed a two-year overall deal with Universal Television to develop new … Read More »

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Comedy Writer-Producer Wil Calhoun Signs Overall Deal WIth Universal Television

By | Thursday March 22, 2012 @ 10:32am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Former Friends executive producer Wil Calhoun has signed a two-year overall deal with Universal Television. This marks Calhoun’s return to the studio where he was under overall deals from 2004-08. “Wil is a talented writer with a Southern upbringing which adds a distinct voice to his work,” Universal TV … Read More »

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Writer-Producer Alexandra Cunningham Signs New Deal With Universal Television

By | Friday March 16, 2012 @ 4:20pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Alexandra Cunningham, who developed and executive produced NBC’s Prime Suspect, has signed a new overall deal with the studio behind the series, Universal Television. Under the two-year, seven-figure pact, Cunningham will develop new projects for the studio, which now … Read More »

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Peter Berg & Sarah Aubrey’s Film 44 Signs New Overall Deal With Universal Television

By | Friday March 16, 2012 @ 12:38pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Peter Berg & Sarah Aubrey’s production company Film 44 has inked a new overall deal with Universal Television. Under the two-year pact, the two will develop and produce new … Read More »

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NBC Buys Rock ‘N’ Roll Drama From Adam Levine And Lawrence Trilling

By | Friday October 28, 2011 @ 1:49pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Adam Levine is no accidental TV producer. After a single-camera karaoke comedy project he executive produces sparked a bidding war in July before landing at NBC with penalty, the rocker-turned-reality star has set up a … Read More »

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NBC Buys Comedy Written By & Starring Andrea Savage And Produced By Jay Roach

By | Wednesday October 26, 2011 @ 10:21am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: NBC has bought a half-hour comedy from actress-comedian Andrea Savage and director-producer Jay Roach. Savage will write and star in the multi-camera project, which is being produced by Universal Television, with Roach and Jennifer Perini executive producing through their Everyman Pictures. The untitled comedy centers on … Read More »

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NBC Teams With Kenny Ortega For Latin Dance Studio Drama

By | Thursday October 13, 2011 @ 3:09pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: NBC is developing a Latino family drama with dance elements executive produced by top choreographer/director Kenny Ortega and The Event executive producer Steve Stark. Ortega is … Read More »

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Universal TV Sells First Projects To Outside Networks: Comedy To ABC & Drama To CBS

By | Friday September 30, 2011 @ 2:00pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

A month after Bela Bajaria was given the reins of NBC’s production arm with the mandate to re-establish it as a full-fledged, stand-alone studio, Universal Television has sold two projects to non-NBC networks, comedy End Of The World to ABC and untitled FBI drama to CBS. In addition to Bajaria’s hire, the company’s rapid transformation over the past month also includes the assembling of a top executive team under her with the appointment of heads of comedy, drama and casting, as well as a name change from Universal Media Studios to Universal Television and a new logo (above, animated version below). This marks a return to UMS’ old days, before it was consolidated into NBC 3 years ago, when it developed and produced series for other networks, including Sons And Daughters and Complete Savages for ABC. Here are details on the first 2 non-NBC projects to come out of Universal TV: Read More »

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Ethan Hawke And Vince D’Onofrio To Star In NBC Crime Drama Written By Chris Brancato

By | Wednesday September 14, 2011 @ 5:43pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: In what will instantly become one of this season’s highest-profile drama projects, I hear that Ethan Hawke and Vince D’Onofrio have teamed with writer-producer Chris Brancato for a cop drama that has been nabbed by NBC with a production commitment. Brancato conceived the project, titled Blue Tilt, and took it to Hawke and D’Onofrio, who helped shape it. All three will executive produce. The show will star Hawke and D’Onofrio as two seasoned homicide detectives — one married and one divorced — as they solve cases while dealing with their wives/ex-wives and kids. The title Blue Tilt refers to a cop term for homicide detectives who, as a result of dealing with particularly brutal crimes, become a danger to themselves and are put under psychiatric observation. I hear that the pilot is targeted for a production start by the end of the year in New York, where both Hawke and D’Onofrio live. The two actors are old friends and co-starred in the 2009 feature Staten Island together, while Law & Order: Criminal Intent star D’Onofrio worked with Brancato on the final season of the Law & Order spinoff, on which Brancato served as executive producer/showrunner. This marks D’Onofrio’s return to NBC, where Law & Order: CI started before moving to cable sibling USA Network. Blue Tilt will be produced by newly renamed Universal Television, which also produces the Law & Order franchise. Read More »

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Universal Media Studios Gets New Heads Of Drama, Comedy & Casting And New Name

By | Monday September 12, 2011 @ 1:15pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: NBC’s sibling Universal Media Studios has assembled a new top executive team under EVP Bela Bajaria, who took the reins of the studio last month. Additionally, UMS is changing its name to Universal Television, reverting to the moniker held by Universal’s TV production company, known for such series as the Law & Order franchise, prior to its 2004 merger with NBC Studios.

Bajaria’s new team includes Russell Rothberg, formerly SVP Drama Programming, NBC and UMS, who has been named head of the studio’s drama department as SVP Universal Television. Joining him in the drama area will be Erin Underhill, formerly SVP Current Programming, NBC and UMS, who now becomes SVP Universal Television, reporting to Rothberg. Additionally, former WB head of comedy Tracey Pakosta comes to Universal Television to lead the comedy department as SVP Comedy. And Showtime veteran Beth Klein, who left the pay cable network in April after 23 years, has been named SVP Casting, Universal Television. An additional comedy executive will be announced shortly. Read More »

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