Lauren Zalaznick's exit from NBCUniversal was inevitable. Ever since she fell out of CEO Steve Burke's favor, she's been restless to run a business.
In fact, it was a matter of when, not if, Zalaznick would leave NBCU. She lost her preeminent position there when CEO Steve Burke's shuffled his senior management last February.
As I detailed on Postcards, Burke put Bonnie Hammer, No. 33 on Fortune's MPW list, in charge of all of the cable entertainment channels in parent Comcast's (CMCSA) media empire. As Hammer advanced, Zalaznick, 50, ceded control of two major networks, Oxygen and Bravo. That stung particularly because Zalaznick built Bravo from a tiny niche cable channel into a major, high-margin network for affluent audiences.
Since the February shuffle, Zalaznick has been EVP in charge of digital strategy across NBCU--a challenging task for anyone, but particularly an anti-establishment exec who started as an independent filmmaker, says her motto is "Create, Innovate, Have Fun, Win," and proudly resists a C-suite persona. With an office—colorful and quirky, like she is—a few steps away from Burke's on the 51st floor of NBCU's Rock Center headquarters, Zalaznick has been noticeably uncomfortable there and restless to get back to running something.
Zalaznick, whom I recently interviewed at Fortune Brainstorm Tech about TV's future, has been advising a couple of tech companies and investing in startups that combine content and technology. Don't be surprised if she moves on to a job running one of them. Meanwhile, her exit from NBCU means expanded power for 39-year-old Cesar Conde, the president of Spanish-language Univision Networks who earlier this month joined NBCU as EVP in charge of global business development.
Here is Burke's email to NBCU's staff explaining the changes:
I am writing to let you know that Lauren Zalaznick will be leaving NBCUniversal after 12 successful years working in a variety of leadership roles here.
Those of you who know Lauren well know she is one of those rare executives that combine great creative instincts with a true business orientation. Her contributions to our company have been significant and far-reaching, from cable entertainment to Spanish-language broadcast, from digital initiatives to new marketing campaigns. Lauren also has been an important champion for many of our company-wide initiatives.
Moving forward, most of Lauren's current group including Lori Conkling, Tony Cardinale, Nick Lehman and Lenore Moritz will report to Cesar Conde. Russell Hampton (Consumer Products) and Paul Yanover (Fandango) will report to Jeff Shell. John Shea and the Integrated Media group will report solely to Linda Yaccarino.
Lauren will remain at the company to transition her current portfolio, and then consult with NBCUniversal on digital media content and technology marketplace trends.
I want to thank Lauren for her years of service. Her drive to innovate, her energy and her intelligence have made our company a better place. She has been an important member of our team and we wish her well in the future.
A teenage "YouTube disciple" dissects television, VidCon, and fangirls.
On a panel about TV's future at Fortune Brainstorm Tech in July, NBC Universal (CMCSA) exec Lauren Zalaznick said that she was planning to take her teenage daughter, Ada, to VidCon, the world's largest video convention. Guessing that Ada Dolan-Zalaznick could be as brainy and culturally aware as her mom, I asked Ada if she would want to write about her takeaways MOREPatricia Sellers - Aug 14, 2013 9:15 AM ET
The $25 million two-year deal that Chelsea Handler just chalked with the E! network says something about the enterprising queen of late-night TV talk. She sure knows how to negotiate.
"I do behave badly and I get paid well for it," Handler told Piers Morgan on CNN (TWX) last evening, adding, "It's a really good time to be me."
Last month, when I interviewed Handler on stage at the Fortune Most Powerful MOREPatricia Sellers - Nov 18, 2011 1:29 PM ET
"If Twitter is the telephone, we're the conversation."
That comment was a highlight of Fortune Brainstorm Tech's "Future of Television" discussion on Thursday—even though the person who said it wasn't in the room.
No offense to the panelists on stage: Disney (DIS) Media Networks co-chair Anne Sweeney, CBS (CBS) exec Nancy Tellem, and NBC Universal's (CMCSA) Lauren Zalaznick. But the remark--which moderator Jason Hirschhorn said former MTV Networks (VIA) CEO Judy McGrath MOREPatricia Sellers - Jul 22, 2011 11:35 AM ET
by Patricia Sellers
If you're a TV fan or any sort of media maven, check out this story about NBC Universal's (GE) study of viewer emotions toward the most-watched shows of the past 50 years.
NBCU surveyed some 3,500 heavy TV watchers and asked what emotions they felt viewing each program. Lauren Zalaznick, President of NBC Universal Women and Lifestyle Entertainment Networks, presented the findings, with cool moving graphics, at the TEDWomen MOREPatricia Sellers - Dec 22, 2010 2:40 PM ET
by Patricia Sellers
What time did you get up this morning?
Not as early as the crew on NBC's Today, I bet.
Yesterday at 30 Rock, NBC Universal's (GE) headquarters, Nightly News anchor Brian Williams connected with his inner Robin Williams (he's almost as funny, though drier) and, before an audience of media writers and other television-industry watchers, queried the hosts of MSNBC's Morning Joe, CNBC's Squawk Box, and Today.
Matt Lauer sets his MOREPatricia Sellers - Sep 24, 2010 10:01 AM ET
Conan has made it clear that he has no interest in having his Tonight Show bumped to 12:05 am to make room for Jay Leno at 11:35. (And wouldn't that make it the Tomorrow Show, anyway?)
That's an ultimatum for NBC Universal (GE) CEO Jeff Zucker who must now (quickly)decide either to keep Conan in the slot he was promised or watch him jump to another network -- probably News Corp.'s Fox (NWSA).
Turns MOREPatricia Sellers - Jan 13, 2010 9:36 AM ET
As I told you on Friday, there's apparently no truth to the rumors that NBC Universal (GE) exec Lauren Zalaznick, who built Bravo and oversees Oxygen and more there, has been negotiating for a top job at MTV (VIAB).
After the Postcard ran, Jim Citrin, the prominent Spencer Stuart recruiter who was spotted lunching with Zalaznick at Michael's (and thus fed the rumor mill, unintentionally) popped me an email. "Too funny," MOREPatricia Sellers - Dec 14, 2009 12:23 PM ET
Rumors are spreading across the Internet that NBC Universal executive Lauren Zalaznick is headed to MTV.
"There is absolutely no truth to these rumors," says Cameron Blanchard, SVP of communications for NBCU's Women & Lifestyle Entertainment Networks--the unit, including the Bravo network, that Zalaznick oversees.
The response from Viacom (VIAB), MTV's owner: "There's no truth to the rumors," Carole Robinson, EVP of communications for MTV Networks, told me this morning.
How did the MOREPatricia Sellers - Dec 11, 2009 1:57 PM ET
With Comcast (CMCSA) finalizing its deal to buy 51% of NBC Universal from General Electric (GE), skeptics are asking: Why would Comcast CEO Brian Roberts put his faith in Jeff Zucker, the NBCU chief who has dragged the NBC broadcast network from first to fourth place?
Because Jeff Zucker is one of the most determined, driven, ambitious, ingenious, competitive, compelling, resilient people you will ever meet.
Read "Life imitates TV," a Fortune MOREPatricia Sellers - Dec 3, 2009 1:15 PM ET
|Albertsons to merge with Safeway|
|ID'ing alleged Bitcoin creator leads to L.A. car chase|
|Alleged Bitcoin creator denies he's the one|
|Premarkets: Not budging ahead of February jobs report|
|Boeing to end pension plans for non-union employees|