NBCUniversal executive Ted Harbert is exiting the company, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter.
A former Comcast executive, Harbert was named chairman of NBC Broadcasting in 2011 after the Comcast takeover, reporting to CEO Steve Burke. His purview at NBC included local and syndication ad sales, owned stations, domestic television distribution, digital entertainment and special events.
At Comcast, Harbert oversaw a suite of channels that included E!, Style and G4; the latter two no longer exist. In 2013, when NBC was gearing up to move The Tonight Show to New York with the transition from Jay Leno to Jimmy Fallon, Harbert was given day-to-day oversight of Tonight as well as Late Night With Seth Meyers. But Paul Telegdy ultimately retained control of those programs.
The move was confirmed by Burke in an internal memo obtained by THR.
"The businesses Ted oversees are firing on all cylinders and he is ready to look for his next challenge outside of NBCUniversal," wrote Burke. "Ted has had a great 40-year career in television and has played a significant role at Comcast and NBCUniversal since he joined E! in 2004. Ted's encyclopedic knowledge of the television business, creative instincts and enthusiasm have had a positive impact on so many of us. He has been an important adviser to me and a great colleague and mentor to many of you. I know Ted's heart will always remain in the television business, and I look forward to seeing what he accomplishes next."
Harbert will not be replaced. Rather, his duties will be divided among multiple executives, notably NBC Sports chairman Mark Lazarus, who will expand his portfolio to include the company's owned stations, which will continue to be run by Valari Staab. He'll also head up affiliate relations (led by Jean Dietze), affiliate marketing (headed by Scot Chastain), network operations (managed by Tina Silvestri) and broadcast standards (run by Alan Wurtzel).
Lazarus will remain chairman of NBC Sports Group and add chairman, NBC Broadcasting to his title. "Mark has had a major impact on NBC Sports and NBCUniversal since joining the company in 2011," noted Burke. "Mark and his team have a winning culture and the quality of NBC Sports' coverage is unsurpassed, from the Olympics and Sunday Night Football to the Premier League, Golf, NHL and NASCAR. Mark's energy, intelligence and character will be great assets to NBC Broadcasting, as they have been at NBC Sports."
Telegdy and George Cheeks will assume responsibility for NBC's first-run syndication business (led by Valerie Schaer and Ed Swindler). Jeff Bader will get the broadcast research group (run by Wurtzel). Kevin MacLellan will handle global distribution and international, adding oversight of domestic television and new media distribution (led by Frances Manfredi). Maggie McLean Suniewick will head up digital enterprises in a newly created role.
In an email to NBCUniversal staffers on Thursday, Herbert noted that Sunday will mark his 40th year in television. But he did not reveal what he'll be doing next.
Harbert's full note:
Wanted you to hear this directly from me before it's released to the press in a few minutes:
This Sunday marks the end of my 40th season in television. I think that's plenty for now, so I've decided to leave NBC as of October 14th. I'm staying an extra month to ensure orderly transitions and continue the launch of our terrific new Harry Connick, Jr. syndicated show.
When I joined NBC in February 2011 there was room for significant improvement. Five years later, thanks to the incredible work of all of our great teams, we are reporting record results. Simply put, my work is here done.
The proverbial next chapter lies ahead and I'm happy to say I have no idea what it is. I've never known the unknown and I've never taken more than two and a half weeks off since I was 16 years old…now I will. Let's hope I make it until January.
I've loved working at 30 Rock and with all the great people here. I'm eternally grateful to Steve Burke for the opportunity to work for the last 12 years, first at Comcast's Entertainment networks and then here at NBC. It's been a truly incredible adventure.
Thank you all so much.