NBC Names New Studio Heads of Drama, Comedy, Casting

NBC Entertainment has renamed its television production company Universal Media Studios to Universal Television and named several executives to key leadership positions in the division headed by executive VP Bela Bajaria, who joined NBCU last month.

Russell Rothberg, former senior VP of drama programming at NBC and UMS, will head the studio's drama department for Universal Television and Erin Underhill, former senior VP of current programming for NBC and UMS, will report to him as senior VP of drama.

Former WB comedy exec Tracey Pakosta will join Universal Television to lead the comedy department as senior VP, with an additional comedy executive to be announced shortly. In addition, Beth Klein joins from Showtime as senior VP of casting, Universal Television.

The name change reverts back to the studio's former namesake, before NBC's acquisition of Universal in 2004.

"Today's announcement further demonstrates our commitment to our studio business," said NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt. "Content creation is vitally important, and this new group will supervise all of the studio's current programming as well as plan for our expansion into the future. We are fortunate to have attracted a team with the highest integrity and skill who will work closely with the NBC Entertainment group and also sell and produce shows for a range of other networks. The name change to Universal Television harkens back to a company that was once a juggernaut of the business and will serve to reinforce to the creative community our stated goal of producing quality television."