It’s official: Pearlena Igbokwe has been named president of NBC Universal’s Universal Television, maker of series such as “Chicago Fire” and “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.”
The move had been expected after Bela Bajaria was abruptly removed from the post earlier this week following a five-year run at the studio. Igbokwe, who has held a senior position in drama development at NBC since 2012, will report to NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salke.
“Pearlena’s remarkable track record in drama programming at NBC over the last few years made it clear that she was the ideal choice to lead the studio into its next phase of growth,” Salke wrote in a statement. “Her leadership, vision and taste have resulted in an impressive string of drama successes — from ‘The Blacklist,’ ‘Blindspot,’ ‘Chicago Med,’ ‘Shades of Blue’ and the upcoming series ‘This Is Us,’ ‘Timeless’ and ‘Taken’ — that coincides with our return to a top position among networks.
“Pearlena also comes to the job with a wealth of experience in television movies and comedy and we have no doubt she will lead our prolific studio forward in a dynamic way,” Salke added.
Before coming to NBC, Igbokwe worked at Showtime, where she helped develop such series as “Dexter” and “Nurse Jackie.”
“This Is Us,” a dramedy about friends with unusually interconnected lives, has already developed strong buzz after the trailer was viewed more than 70 million times online shortly after its release. However, the show is produced by 20th Century Fox Television, not by Universal Television. That was a source of consternation for some NBC executives who had hoped for a stronger development season from their sister studio.