Press release from NBCUniversal International Studios, Nov. 28, 2017:
Jeff Wachtel, a senior award-winning NBCUniversal television executive and producer, has been named as President, NBCUniversal International Studios. The appointment was announced by Kevin MacLellan, Chairman, Global Distribution & International, to whom he will report, effective from January.
Located in the interim from Los Angeles before moving to London in summer 2018, Wachtel’s new role will switch his focus to international and global productions. He will manage all aspects of television development, production, formats, and strategic content partnerships for NBCUniversal International Studios.
Since 2013, based in Los Angeles, Wachtel currently serves as Chief Content Officer, NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, reporting to Bonnie Hammer (Chairman, NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment and Cable Studios), responsible for the development and production of content for the company’s diverse cable portfolio, including Bravo, E!, Oxygen, SYFY and USA. He also serves as President of two studios: Universal Cable Productions (focused on original scripted programming) and Wilshire Studios (focused on non-scripted).
Kevin MacLellan commented: “The ability to produce for a local and a global audience is key to the future success of any major production company. Jeff is one of the few creative executives in the business who has proven time and again that he can deliver shows that work on both planes. Working with him closely over the years, my team and I have always found him to be incredibly collaborative and sensitive to what works best for our international audiences. We couldn’t be more thrilled that he is joining us to help grow our production businesses around the world.”
Wachtel added: “I’m going from one dream job to another. Nothing can top my experience helping to grow USA and then UCP into hugely successful enterprises. And I have been lucky to benefit from Bonnie’s leadership and my wonderful relationship with the incredible NBCU teams. The only thing that could be more exciting is the adventure of moving to London and working with our great international folks to help take that business to the next level.”
“Jeff has a unique blend of great creative instincts and business savvy,” said Bonnie Hammer. “It’s the reason he has one of the most impressive track records in the business and I know he’ll continue to work his magic at our International Studios.”
NBCUniversal International Studios delivers award-winning programmes to audiences across the globe. Within Wachtel’s new remit, working in close partnership with Chief Operating Officer Sarah Cooper, NBCUniversal International Studios’ production entities include: NBC Universal International Productions headed by JoAnn Alfano (EVP Scripted Programming),the highly respected exec producer of hit shows such as the Emmy-winning NBC comedy 30 Rock and ABC drama Resurrection; Carnival Films headed by Gareth Neame and producers of Downton Abbey, Lucky Man, Jamestown and The Last Kingdom; Monkey Kingdom producers of Made In Chelsea and Australian-based Matchbox Pictures, named as Production Business of the Year by SPA and producers of The Slap, Nowhere Boys and Wanted. Additionally, NBCUniversal International Studios operates two significant joint ventures: Working Title Television with Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner and Heyday TV with David Heyman. The division also owns an equity stake in Lark Productions in Canada and has a first look production deal with Hardy Son & Baker. Wachtel will also oversee a successful global Formats business, which licenses and produces content in over 70 territories worldwide.
In his current role, Wachtel spearheaded NBCU’s Cable portfolio’s escalated efforts to create and own original content, energising the development slate at Universal Cable Productions and Wilshire Studios, and newly partnering with A-list producing talent. Under his leadership, the studios enjoyed notable success with award-winning series such as Mr. Robot and Suits at USA, the critically acclaimed Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce (Bravo’s first scripted series), the hit series The Magicians and 12 Monkeys at Syfy, and Difficult People, an original series for Hulu. Most recently, UCP produced for USA Network the most successful US cable series of 2017, The Sinner, starring Jessica Biel and Bill Pullman.
In previous roles, Wachtel served as Co-President of USA Network and, prior to that, President, Original Programming. The unprecedented run of successful series and mini-series launched during his tenure include Monk, Burn Notice, The 4400, Covert Affairs, Psych, The Starter Wife, Royal Pains, White Collar and Suits. During that time, USA became the number one cable entertainment network and remains in that position today. Wachtel joined the network in 2001 as Executive Vice President of Series and Longform Programming.
Prior to USA, Wachtel launched the hit series Party of Five on FBC and Dawson’s Creek on the WB Network when he was EVP, Programming at Columbia Pictures Television. As a theatre producer, he produced the first New York productions of David Mamet’s work, Sexual Perversity In Chicago and Duck Variations.
A graduate of Yale University, Wachtel is an avid mentor, teaching TV Show Running at the American Film Institute. He is also a founding member of L.A. Works, a community-based volunteer organization, as well as a member of the President’s Advisory Board of the Zimmer Children’s Museum and a board member of the Hollywood Radio and Television Society.