Press release from NBC Entertainment, June 8, 2016:
Paul Telegdy and Meredith Ahr have extended their contracts at NBC Entertainment with expanded roles in the ever-burgeoning alternative space.
Telegdy has been named President, Alternative and Reality Group, NBC Entertainment, while Ahr will become President of Universal Television Alternative Studio, a new initiative that will supply shows to NBC as well as other broadcast and cable networks.
Hits such as “The Voice,” “American Ninja Warrior” and “Little Big Shots,” as well as refreshed iconic franchises such as “America’s Got Talent” and “The New Celebrity Apprentice,” have all come under Telegdy’s regime in partnership with Ahr making NBC the dominant network in alternative programming.
Telegdy will continue to report to Robert Greenblatt, Chairman, NBC Entertainment. Ahr continues to report to Telegdy.
“Paul is in a class by himself in the area of alternative programming, which is one of the biggest strengths of NBC and a key reason why we have returned to a leadership position among networks,” said Greenblatt. “He has a vision of the future and his finger is on the pulse of what is exciting in this space, and it was a priority of mine to continue to tap him as a major resource for this company. Part of the strategy was setting up a studio, to be run by Meredith, that will provide us with the biggest reality hits of the future, whether on NBC or other programming services and to territories around the world. Paul comes to us with a global understanding of this business and I’m pleased that he will continue to make this company his home after such a winning track record that began so dramatically with ‘The Voice.'”
Telegdy added: “Meredith is an exceptional creative executive and leader, with the rare combination of being fiercely competitive, smart and humble. There is not a successful alternative franchise on this network that hasn’t been influenced and energized by her expertise and insight into what audiences crave. Her passion for innovation is what has kept our entire division on the cutting edge, and that is reflected by the genre-defining shows she has personally developed and managed for this network for the last 12 years. We are all extremely confident that Meredith, in her new role, will create opportunities for strategic partnerships that will produce content for all platforms and deliver formats that translate to any marketplace.”
Reporting to Ahr at the studio will be Senior Vice Presidents Enrique Guillen, George Sealey and Fernando Hernandez, who leads the development team and helps oversee a bold roster of producers and talent deals.
Series that have flourished under both Telegdy and Ahr’s purview include “The Voice,” the #1 alternative series in the 18-49 demo for the last four seasons; “America’s Got Talent,” the #1 summer series that just began its 11thseason; “American Ninja Warrior,” which is coming off its best season ever; and “Little Big Shots,” which was the season’s #1 new broadcast series in total viewers. Other successful alternative series of the recent past include “Hollywood Game Night” and “Running Wild with Bear Grylls.”
In addition, Teledgy’s oversight includes NBC’s many annual specials, including the Golden Globe Awards, “The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade,” “The Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular” and the “Red Nose Day Special.” Telegdy is also overseeing the anticipated upcoming relaunch of “The New Celebrity Apprentice,” hosted by Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Telegdy has been in his current post since 2011 after he was promoted from Executive Vice President, Alternative Programming, NBC and Universal Television.
Before arriving at NBC and Universal Television Studios, Telegdy served as Executive Vice President, Sales, Content and Production, BBC Worldwide America from March 2008 until December 2008 while based in Los Angeles.
Earlier, Telegdy was Senior Vice President, BBC Productions Los Angeles, and BBC Worldwide America. During this time, he developed “Dancing with the Stars,” which has become one of the industry’s perennial top series hits.
Ahr has been integral in developing and maintaining the two-time Emmy Award winner “The Voice.” In addition, she, along with Simon Cowell, developed the first season of “America’s Got Talent,” one of the world’s most successful formats. Ahr has also been behind the creation of many other alternative series, including “The Celebrity Apprentice,” “Last Comic Standing” and the Emmy-winning docuseries “Who Do You Think You Are?”
For the last seven years, Ahr has managed the entire team of alternative current and development executives for the network, working cohesively with a diverse programming slate that includes “American Ninja Warrior,” “Hollywood Game Night,” “Running Wild with Bear Grylls” and, most recently, Steve Harvey’s “Little Big Shots.”
Ahr’s career at NBC began in 2001 when she joined the network as a page in New York, with roles ranging from seating audiences at “Saturday Night Live” to working in the office of Bob Wright, then Vice Chairman and Executive Officer, GE, and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, NBC Universal. Ahr moved to Los Angeles in 2004 after two additional years of gaining experience in marketing and brand partnerships at the NBC Agency, and assisting in the news division during the 24-hour coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
New Universal Television alternative series to debut over the next several months include “The Wall,” from executive producer LeBron James and host Chris Hardwick, and “Better Late Than Never,” featuring William Shatner, Henry Winkler, Terry Bradshaw, George Foreman and Jeff Dye.
Universal Television Alternative Studios now exists as the parallel to the scripted studio — Universal Television — headed by newly named President Pearlena Igbokwe. She reports to Jennifer Salke, President, NBC Entertainment.