NBCU Unscripted Chief Jenny Groom Exiting In Alternative Shake-Up

·3 min read

NBCUniversal is shaking up its unscripted executive ranks with alternative chief Jenny Groom exiting the broadcaster.

Groom, who is EVP Entertainment Unscripted Content, has been with the broadcast network for nearly 20 years and has risen through the ranks, having started at NBC through its page program.

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Deadline understands that the network is in talks with a replacement, who is expected to sign up shortly.

Formerly EVP, Alternative Programming & Development, NBC Entertainment, Groom was handed a new role in February 2021, under Susan Rovner, when the unscripted team was split into two.

“Jenny is a wonderful and well-respected executive who has made an indelible impact on NBC with her work on shows like The Voice, America’s Got Talent, and so many others. I will always be thankful for everything she has done for this company, and am so grateful to have had the opportunity to work beside her,” said Susan Rovner, Chairman, Entertainment Content.

In addition to overseeing unscripted programming on NBC, Groom took on oversight of reality competition, talent competition and game show formats across its portfolio, including cable networks and streamer Peacock. She worked alongside Rod Aissa, who oversees all unscripted lifestyle and documentary programming, having shepherded shows such as E!’s Keeping Up with the Kardashians.

Groom oversaw shows such as The Voice, America’s Got Talent, American Ninja Warrior and Temptation Island. 

However, the network has struggled to break through any new big-ticket entertainment formats in recent years under the Texas native. Shows such as Shakira’s Dancing with Myself failed to replicate the early success of Jennifer Lopez’s World of Dance, its U.S. take on Eurovision with American Song Contest, hosted by Snoop Dogg and Kelly Clarkson, struggled in the ratings and its Regency-style dating format The Courtship was pulled from NBC and moved to USA Network after its first two episodes.

Similarly, high-profile unscripted series such as Amy Poehler’s Making It and Kristen Bell’s Family Game Fight! as well as AGT: Extreme have been indefinitely parked at the network.

However, Groom has ordered a number of big-ticket formats that may end up performing well on the network and just launched its take on Love Island USA, having handed the former CBS show a two-season order, fronted by Modern Family’s Sarah Hyland, for Peacock.

Million Dollar Island is a Survivor-esque competition format that will see 100 contestants compete over 50 days for the chance to win $1M. It comes from two powerhouse unscripted producers – Talpa and Studio Lambert.

The Wheel is a remake of the British gameshow, airing on the BBC. Groom was also responsible for a transatlantic format deal with the UK public broadcaster, signed last year, that sees them search for unscripted shows that can work both in the U.S. and UK with the Alan Cumming-hosted deception gameshow The Traitors, from Studio Lambert for Peacock, being the first of these.

There’s also the possibility of a new show from The X Factor and AGT creator Simon Cowell, for Peacock, after he signed a talent deal with NBCUniversal last year, and Jimmy Fallon is involved in a reboot of classic game show Password.

Groom, in a note to colleagues seen by Deadline, said that her experiences at NBCUniversal have been “invaluable”.

“From starting as a page and moving up through scripted and unscripted programming, my experiences at NBCU have been invaluable. But there is no question that what I cherish the most is the people, the relationships, and most importantly my incredible team. I am so proud of all that we have accomplished together over the years, and I will be forever grateful to have worked side-by-side with all of you,” she wrote.

“Change can be scary, but I believe change is also a good thing. I’m ready and excited for my next chapter, and no matter what the future brings, I will always be rooting for the success of my NBCUniversal family,” she added.

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