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Pearlena Igbokwe Named Universal Television President

Pearlena Igbokwe has been promoted to president of Universal Television, succeeding Bela Bajaria, who departed her post earlier in the week. Igbokwe came to NBC Entertainment in 2012 as executive VP, drama development. She will continue to report to Jennifer Salke, president, NBC Entertainment.

“Pearlena’s remarkable track record in drama programming at NBC over the last few years made it clear that she was the ideal choice to lead the studio into its next phase of growth,” said Salke. “Her leadership, vision and taste have resulted in an impressive string of drama successes that coincides with our return to a top position among networks. Pearlena also comes to the job with a wealth of experience in television movies and comedy and we have no doubt she will lead our prolific studio forward in a dynamic way.”

Igbokwe came to NBC after two decades at Showtime Networks. She supervised dozens of television movies there before transitioning into drama and comedy series development. Shows she helped develop include Dexter and Nurse Jackie.

It was a tumultuous week for studio heads, with Bajaria leaving Universal after close to five years and Steve Mosko departing Sony Pictures Television after more than two decades with the company.

Universal Television produces more than 20 primetime series as well as late night and reality programs for a variety of network, cable, and digital platforms, including Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Mindy Project and Dick Wolf’s Chicago franchise.

One priority for Igbokwe will be to steer more quality projects to NBC, instead of to its broadcast, cable and SVOD rivals.

Universal Television is part of NBCUniversal.

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.