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Kellner Says Teamwork Key to Rebuilding NBC

The new team picked by Comcast to rebuild NBC has a chance to succeed in that daunting task by following in the footsteps of the legendary Grant Tinker and Brandon Tartikoff, according to Jamie Kellner, a guy who knows a thing or two about building networks.

Kellner, who helped launch Fox and founded the WB, calls Ted Harbert, set to be NBC Broadcasting’s chairman, a “dear friend,” and also worked with Bob Greenblatt, designated as chairman of NBC Entertainment, at Fox.

“The two of them together, I think that’s an interesting marriage the way you had when Tartikoff was doing what he was doing for NBC and you had Grant Tinker, who was the savvy business guy as well as a creative guy,” Kellner said. Tinker and Tartikoff took a struggling NBC and turned it into a dominant network in the 1980s with such shows as The Cosby Show, Hill Street Blues and Seinfeld.

“I think you’ve got in many ways a similar opportunity there with those two guys. And if they can stay in their own turf and work as a team, I think they’ll do really well together,” Kellner said.

Kellner stressed he wasn’t comparing Greenblatt and Harbert to Tartikoff and Tinker as individuals. “I’m saying that what worked there was the unique chemistry of two people that were very compatible and worked really well together,” he said. “In some ways Ted has a very deep knowledge of network television, including the creative side. And Bob is a very creative person, and if they can work together the way those two [Tartikoff and Tinker] did, they have the same potential for success.”

Michael Malone
Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.