Steve Burke has been making some news of late, huh? In bits and pieces, his new management structure is beginning to get leaked to the community through a host of blogs and trades.
As the acquirer…Steve is taking the reins of a content/distribution juggernaut in NBCU. The cable assets are a great mix of powerful brands like USA, Bravo, CNBC, MSNBC and now Comcast’s E!. Add to that the smaller group of Oxygen and Syfy combined with Comcast’s Versus, Style, G4 and others….. and you now have a group of cable networks that combine a mix of marketplace power and upside…as some of the smaller networks have significant room for distribution revenue growth if managed properly. Pretty impressive.
But cable networks are only part of this deal….as it also comes with a struggling NBC Television Network, among others assets. The key word here is UPSIDE as well, and my bet is that Steve Burke has a strong and executable plan to seize it.
That plan starts with his management team. Up front, if the press leaks are accurate, he has made a killer hire in Robert Greenblatt to run his programming department. I worked with him in the earliest days of FOX and knew, right there, that he would achieve great things in his career. He has seen the business from a variety of sides….as a producer, a program development executive and lead programmer at Showtime….and he brings along a passion for great story telling.
To me, the most important asset that Robert brings to Comcast is industry wide respect and admiration….and in Hollywood, that is a real achievement.
On the development side, I have to believe that the town’s best writers and producers recognize that Robert’s involvement and viewpoint will be a huge asset to their efforts and I can easily forsee NBC securing first look opportunities on a slew of innovative stories and executions going forward, contractually or not. Agents all around town know that the holes in the NBC schedule will give Robert the opportunity to take some much needed calculated risks and his penchant for quality will payoff handsomely.
His reputation and respect will also allow him to build a very strong team of executives in development and current programming as well as in scheduling and marketing. Succeeding at a powerfully distributed broadcast network is a crazy addictive drug and people are gonna flock to the opportunity to be a part of it.
There’s some good days ahead for everyone on the NBC network team. Just be patient and enjoy the ride.