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NBC Universal Rebrands Production Arm, Unveils Executive Team

Unit will be called Universal Media Studios — a throwback to its former title

NBC Entertainment is re-christening its television production company and repackaging its executive ranks.

No longer will its production arm be called Universal Media Studios. Rather, under new parent company Comcast,  the unit will be referred to as Universal Television.

Last month, the company announced that newly appointed NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt tapped former CBS/Showtime cohort Bela Bajaria to be the production arm's executive VP. Monday's announcement unveils the group that will serve as Bajaria's top lieutenants. 

Russell Rothberg, formerly senior VP of drama programming for NBC and UMS, will now head the studio’s drama department as senior VP, drama, Universal Television.

Joining him in the drama area will be Erin Underhill, formerly senior VP, current programming, NBC and UMS, who now becomes senior VP of drama, Universal Television, reporting to Rothberg.

In addition, Tracey Pakosta comes to Universal Television to head the comedy department as senior VP, comedy, Universal Television.

Lastly, Beth Klein joins the studio, most recently from Showtime, to lead the new casting department as senior VP, casting, Universal Television.

Universal said that an additional comedy executive will also be announced shortly.

Universal Television was the production unit's name prior to NBC’s acquisition of Universal in 2004. 

In his previous position, Rothberg developed NBC’s new dramas “Awake” and “Prime Suspect,” among numerous other projects. Rothberg joined NBC and Universal Media Studios in June 2009 and previously served as VP of current programming for Fox Broadcasting Company. 

Underhill recently oversaw such new series as the dramas “The Playboy Club,” “Awake,” “Parenthood,” “Chase” and the anthology series “Love Bites.” She earlier developed “Heroes,” “Chuck” and “Friday Night Lights” for NBC. Underhill also served at NBC as VP, drama development, and VP, current series. 

Pakosta most recently was the partner at Green Mountain West, Craig Ferguson’s production company for CBS Television Studios. She previously served as executive VP of comedy development at The WB Network, where she co-ran the comedy department and developed many projects, including  “Reba” and “What I Like About You.” 

Klein most recently was Showtime’s senior VP of talent and casting where she worked closely with Greenblatt for several years.

While at Showtime, Klein oversaw casting for the network’s scripted series, including “The Big C,” “Dexter,” “Weeds,” “The Borgias,” “The Tudors,” “Queer as Folk,” “The L-Word,” “Nurse Jackie,” “United States of Tara,” “Episodes,” “Shameless” and “Californication.”