FORTUNE -- The Fortune Most Powerful Women list includes, among its 50 execs, three stars at NBC Universal. The most powerful of the trio has just gained more ground.
NBCU's announcement yesterday that Bonnie Hammer, No. 33 on Fortune's power list, is now in charge of all of the company's cable entertainment channels is not such a great surprise. Hammer reprogrammed and built USA Network and Syfy into two of the most lucrative properties in the cable business--while generating some $2 billion in annual profits for NBCU. But more than that, since Comcast (CMCSA) took over NBCU from General Electric (GE) two years ago, Hammer, 62, has proven herself to be not only a highly effective change agent (her latest overhaul: E!) but a strong manager who attracts talent on and off the screen. In his letter to employees, NBCU CEO Steve Burke called Hammer a "natural business leader."
While Burke is labeling Lauren Zalaznick's new EVP job a "promotion," it's really not that so much as an elegant way to keep two key executives in his stable. Zalaznick, No. 48 on the Fortune MPW list, is ceding control of two major networks, Oxygen and Bravo, to Hammer. Bravo is the onetime niche channel that Zalaznick refashioned into a red-hot, high-margin network for affluent viewers. Now without any significant P&L oversight, Zalaznick, 50, is directing digital strategy and more across NBCU. Given that she is the company's quirky, creative culture czar (her office looks like a colorful pop-culture museum display) and Internet champion, she has a gig that seems fitting. Now it is her job to make the role critical to Burke's plan to expand the company.
While Hammer and Zalaznick (who, coincidentally, both grew up on Long Island, the youngest of three children) grab the spotlight, the other NBCU exec on the MPW list, News Group chairman Pat Fili-Krushel (No. 41), wields her power more quietly. Fili-Krushel (also from Long Island, the eldest of three kids) was on our first MPW list in 1998, when she was named to head ABC. Ever since, she has spent her career advising Walt Disney (DIS) CEO Bob Iger and then Time Warner's (TWX) Jeff Bewkes behind closed C-suite doors. As one of Burke's key advisers, she's now more powerful than ever.
And with Steve Capus' recent exit as the boss at NBC News, Fili-Krushel, 59, is in charge of finding his successor. In the running for that big job: another NBCU woman, Alex Wallace.
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
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
Seventy of New York's top women in media joined 160 aspiring young women for a "Mentors Walk" in Central Park this morning. It was drizzly and great. NBC Universal (GE) and Step Up Women's Network, a non-profit group all about advancing women and girls, hosted. The Mentor Walk's creator, former Oxygen Media CEO Gerry Laybourne, was there along with J. Crew (JCG) President Tracy Gardner, Bank of America (BAC) Merrill MOREPatricia Sellers - Jun 11, 2009 3:15 PM ET
|Sony shares boom on spin off speculation|
|Microsoft unveils new Xbox One game console|
|Bank of Japan maintains policy, cheers Abenomics|
|Apple grilled about tax havens|
|Stocks end at record highs ahead of Bernanke|