NBC Universal, under the direction of Ms. Hammer is now in the midst of shaking up its TV production units allowing her to centralize her power and influence over a wider area of the cable television industry.
She will now have full control of all of NBC Universal’s cable networks which includes SCI FI, Chiller, Sleuth, USA and Universal HD.
Say what you want about Hammer’s executive style, but under her leadership NBC cable stations, especially the SCI FI Channel and the USA Network have become some of the most watched channels in basic cable history in just 6 years under her firm hand. For that effort chief execs have awarded her more control and say over channel presidents on how they schedule programming for the networks.
What this means for the immediate is that Hammer will now lead all of Universal Media Studios cable programming, allowing her to complete the centralized streamlining ideas she first introduced on the SCI FI Channel and using that same model for the rest of the cable skeins.
“It’s a simple premise: Let the cable group control what it does, and let the network group concentrate on what it does,” Hammer said. “This gives us a little bit of control not only on the creative, but I’ll have an opportunity to control our own bottom line.”
By having more control over resources, her goal is to bring in monies that will allow more development of projects for their two biggest winners, The USA Network and SCI FI Channel.
Now whenever a new script idea comes along, it won’t necessarily be relegated to the network first. Under Hammer’s control, cable channels will be on an equal footing with the networks and be able to choose products that might otherwise never see the light of day on a conventional channel schedule with the cable networks having never heard about it or given a chance to develop it for themselves.
“This way, when stuff comes in,” Hammer added. “It’s ours.”
One of the first things Hammer did as the new boss to smooth out the transition was hire Dave Howe as the new president of the SCI FI Channel. One of Hammer’s goals assigned to Howe was to bring SCI FI up to the par of a FX Channel. A channel capable of creating top notch, award winning original programming that can compete with conventional network drama and be self-sustaining with a steady revenue flow.
Hammer will maintain her top office in New York but will spend a good deal of time, at least at first, commuting between the East and West coasts. Once everyone is on her page then much of the West coast duties can be run by Richard Rothstein, her VP in charge of the LA office for NBC Universal Cable Studio.
Of course, no matter how high one may rise every one still has a boss and Hammer is no exception. She will answer to Jeff Gaspin, Universal TV COO and Jeff Zucker, NBC Universal CEO. They in turn answer to NBC Entertainment/U Media Studios co-chairs Ben Silverman and Marc Graboff, as well as UMS prexy Katherine Pope; who themselves answer to General Electric’s (GE) Board of Directors who ultimately must give an accounting to the stock holders.
“Bonnie is one of the most talented executives in the industry, with an amazing track record of success,” Gaspin said. “She’ll be able to put her exceptional branding, programming and leadership skills toward an expanded portfolio of cable assets.”
“She’s a multi-talented executive who knows how to run a network, program it successfully and inspire a team,” Zucker said.