NBCUniversal executive Ted Harbert is exiting the company, saying in a memo to staff that his work there is done.
“When I joined NBC in February 2011 there was room for significant improvement,” Harbert wrote. “Five years later, thanks to the incredible work of all of our great teams, we are reporting record results. Simply put, my work is here done.
“This Sunday marks the end of my 40th season in television. I think that’s plenty for now, so I’ve decided to leave NBC as of October 14. I’m staying an extra month to ensure orderly transitions and continue the launch of our terrific new Harry Connick, Jr. syndicated show.”
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NBC CEO Steve Burke announced Harbert’s exit in a separate internal memo on Thursday which reads, in part:
“The businesses Ted oversees are firing on all cylinders and he is ready to look for his next challenge outside of NBCUniversal. Ted has had a great 40-year career in television and has played a significant role at Comcast and NBCUniversal since he joined E! in 2004. Ted’s encyclopedic knowledge of the television business, creative instincts and enthusiasm have had a positive impact on so many of us. He has been an important adviser to me and a great colleague and mentor to many of you. I know Ted’s heart will always remain in the television business, and I look forward to seeing what he accomplishes next.”
Harbert, the former president and CEO of Comcast Entertainment Group, was named chairman of NBC Broadcasting in 2011, after the two companies merged. He oversaw NBC’s local and syndication ad sales, owned stations, domestic television distribution, digital entertainment and special events.
At Comcast he led channels E!, Style and G4—the latter two of which no longer exist. He previously served as president of NBC Studios and worked for 20 years at ABC, where he was chairman of ABC Entertainment.
In 2013, he helped NBC move The Tonight Show to New York, with daily oversight as the host transitioned from Jay Leno to Jimmy Fallon. He also oversaw the Late Night with Seth Meyers. Control of both programs was later given to Paul Telegdy.
Rather than being replaced, Harbert’s duties will be divided among other executives, most notably NBC Sports Group chairman Mark Lazarus, who take on an expanded role as chairman of NBC Broadcasting.
“Mark has had a major impact on NBC Sports and NBCUniversal since joining the company in 2011,” Burke said. “Mark and his team have a winning culture and the quality of NBC Sports’ coverage is unsurpassed, from the Olympics and Sunday Night Football to the Premier League, Golf, NHL and NASCAR. Mark’s energy, intelligence and character will be great assets to NBC Broadcasting, as they have been at NBC Sports.”
Telegdy and George Cheeks will take on NBC’s first-run syndication business, led by Valerie Schaer and Ed Swindler. Jeff Bader, president of program planning, strategy and research at NBC Entertainment, will handle oversight of the Broadcast Research Group headed by Alan Wurtzel.
Kevin MacLellan was named chairman of global distribution and international, adding domestic television and new media distribution to his portfolio, and Maggie McLean Suniewick will lead NBCUniversal Digital Enterprises.
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