McCumber rises as NBCU rejigs entertainment

Scripted-logo-460_2Chris McCumberNBCUniversal is shaking up its entertainment networks division, with USA Networks president Chris McCumber heading up a new-look unit.

McCumber will be president of NBCU Entertainment Networks, a group comprising USA, Syfy, Chiller and Cloo.

Syfy president Dave Howe is being moved to a new post as president, strategy and commercial growth at NBCU Cable Entertainment, the wider parent group that chairman Bonnie Hammer leads. Howe will work in New York and LA.

In a note to staff, Hammer said Howe’s new post was “an important position”, adding: “Throughout his tenure as president of Syfy, Dave has always had his eye on the big picture as he helped grow the network well beyond niche status. In his new role, he will partner with me on the kind of forward-thinking planning that will inform our future strategy.”

Other changes see Bill McGoldrick becoming executive VP, scripted content across the NBCU cable portfolio, reporting to Jeff Wachtel, NBCU Cable Entertainment’s chief content officer and prodco sister Universal Cable Productions.

The move comes just over a year after NBCU Cable Entertainment restructured its lifestyle networks under Frances Berwick. This gave her control of Bravo, Oxygen, E! Entertainment and Esquire Network, and resulted in the departure of Suzanne Kolb, who recently turned up at Discovery Digital Networks.

Kids channel Sprout will now sit within Berwick’s group, with Hammer claiming it target demographic of children and mothers was a “natural” complement to the other channesl.

“In this rapidly changing media environment, the biggest challenge is not only adapting to change, but staying one step ahead of it,” Hammer wrote in her note to employees. “That means continuing to re-think our playbook and developing a business model that’s as creative as it is effective, inventive as it is productive.”

Hammer took control of Comcast-owned NBCU’s cable channels in 2013, with Lauren Zalaznick exiting around the same time. Jeff Wachtel, who ran USA as co-president with McCumber, later moving to his new chief content officer post at NBCU Cable Entertainment and UCP.

Change is always challenging, but especially necessary in a time of disruption,” said Hammer of the new restructure. “I’m confident that this re-alignment… will enable us to more nimbly meet the challenges that confront us daily on just about every front.”

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