Former Warner Bros. TV President Susan Rovner, who left the company on Oct. 2, will travel to NBCUniversal to direct entertainment content for all platforms, the company announced today. Her title is Chairman, Entertainment Content for NBCUniversal Television and Streaming.
Rovner, who has spent more than two decades at Warner Bros., will oversee programming for the entire NBCU portfolio, including the NBC broadcast network, basic cable networks USA, Bravo, E !, Syfy, Oxygen and the new streaming service Peacock . Their entertainment programming division consists of separate content groups for scripted, non-written, late-night, and alternative programming.
“Susan is the brave creative force we need to rethink the future of our business,” said Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBCU Television and Streaming, in a statement. “Throughout this process, I was consistently impressed by her strong perspective, track record, and passion for content. Susan joins a great team ready to usher in a new era at NBCU. “
Although news of Rovner’s new role broke in early September, and shortly thereafter she announced her retirement to Warner Bros. staff and stated in a memo that she would “begin a new chapter in my career,” NBCUniversal declined to accept her confirm would join the company to this day.
“NBCU has a deeply rooted tradition of having the best programs from visionary developers, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to join this incredible organization as it builds on that legacy to move into the future,” said Rovner in an explanation.
Almost two months ago (Aug 6), NBCUniversal’s new CEO Jeff Shell revealed a major TV and streaming reorganization that he first pissed off during the Comcast earnings call in July. The new structure created three horizontally integrated units, all reporting to Mark Lazarus, who was promoted in May as part of an earlier NBCU reorganization.
At this point, Peacock’s chairman, Matt Strauss, had been won over to head the direct-to-consumer (DTC) department. Frances Berwick, who previously ran NBCU’s Lifestyle Networks, has been promoted to head of Entertainment, responsible for creating programming strategy and content spending for all television entertainment brands.
But the third unit, Entertainment Programming, did not yet have a leader. The company initially wanted to hire an external employee who eventually became Rovner.
Rovner joined Warner Bros. in 1998 and helped develop shows such as Gossip Girl, The OC and Supernatural before being promoted to co-president of Warner Horizon Scripted in 2014. Last year she was promoted to co-president of Warner Bros. TV along with Brett Paul and given daily supervision of the studio.
Prior to her departure, Rovner was seen as the likely successor to Peter Roth, President and Chief Content Officer of Warner Bros. Television Group, whose contract runs next year.
NBCUniversal’s restructuring has already resulted in the departure of two NBCU network chiefs: Paul Telegdy, Chairman of NBC Entertainment, who left in August, and Chris McCumber, President of USA Network / Syfy, who left in mid-September.
In another high profile exit unrelated to the overhaul, NBCU vice chairman Ron Meyer resigned in August after announcing he was involved in an affair that led to an attempt at extortion.