In the continued restructuring at NBC Entertainment — recent exit of longtime network head Bob Greenblatt and subsequent promotions of George Cheeks and Paul Telegdy — Universal Television Alternative Studio head Meredith Ahr has been promoted to President, Alternative and Reality Group, NBC Entertainment, the company announced Monday.
She will report directly to recently-promoted NBC Co-Chairmen Cheeks and Telegdy (the previous head of alternative) in her new role, which encompasses development, production, business affairs (she’ll be working closely with Lee Straus, EVP, Business Affairs, Alternative and Specials), sales strategy, casting and talent development for the group.
Ahr, a 17-year NBC veteran, will now oversee all aspects of unscripted programming for the network, Universal Television Alternative Studio and first-run syndication, which includes “Access Hollywood” and the recently announced daytime series, “The Kelly Clarkson Show.”
Now with oversight over both the network and studio, Ahr will have “greater purview” over the launch and ongoing strategy for Universal Television Alternative Studio’s “high-profile projects” for NBC in 2019, per the network, including Dwayne Johnson’s “The Titan Games” and songwriting competition series “Songland.”
She will also head up the team behind current hits like “America’s Got Talent,” “Ellen’s Game of Games,” “American Ninja Warrior” and “The Voice.”
“In just two short years, Meredith has built a studio from the ground up and expanded her already indelible impact on NBCUniversal via the genre-defining alternative content she has personally overseen,” Cheeks and Telegdy said. “There is no one better suited to take the baton and run with this role. Meredith will continue to set the industry standard for world-class unscripted programming both domestically and abroad.”
“There has never been a better time to create content that celebrates and reflects the unpredictable stories of real people,” said Ahr. “The opportunity to nurture the best and most innovative formats and ideas, regardless of studio, network, platform or daypart – all around the globe – is a dream job that I’m energized to share with the brilliant producers, talent and executives who partner with us.”
Here’s Ahr’s bio, courtesy of NBC:
Most recently, Ahr was President of Universal Television Alternative Studio, a role she took on in 2016 to launch and build the then-nascent studio. Under her leadership, the studio has produced a number of global hit formats across a diverse slate of unscripted genres, including “World of Dance” with Jennifer Lopez, “The Wall,” “Hollywood Game Night,” and this summer’s critically-acclaimed crafting competition series “Making It” with Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman. The studio has also spread its wings domestically, producing “In Search Of” with Zachary Quinto for HISTORY, as well as other projects for broadcast, cable, first-run syndication and digital platforms.
Ahr’s career at NBC began in 2001 when she joined the network as a Page in New York. Her roles ranged from seating audiences at “Saturday Night Live” to working in the office of the chairman. She made her way to Los Angeles in 2004 via the NBC Entertainment Associates Program, where she was placed in the relatively new Alternative Programming division. Less than two years later, and after supporting over a dozen series and specials, Ahr developed the first edition of “America’s Got Talent” with Simon Cowell, a format that has since been recognized as the most successful reality TV format in the world.
Prior to her role at Universal Television Alternative Studio, Ahr served as Executive Vice President of Alternative Programming for NBC, where she spearheaded a diverse programming slate of some of the network’s biggest hits, including “The Voice” and “America’s Got Talent,” “American Ninja Warrior,” “Running Wild With Bear Grylls,” “Little Big Shots,” “The Celebrity Apprentice,” “The Biggest Loser,” “Last Comic Standing” and “Who Do You Think You Are?”