Mark Lazarus was named president of NBCUniversal Television & Streaming last spring as part of a major reorganization of the company owned by Comcast.
Today, in an opening interview as part of Natpe, he explained what this reshuffle means for the company’s programming strategy and the brand new streaming service Peacock and also expressed his opinion on the Olympics. which are scheduled to take place in Japan this summer.
Lazarus speaking to Today Co-host Hoda Kotb said bringing all of his networks, including NBC and cable networks such as Bravo and USA Network together under the same umbrella as Peacock, was an “aggressive” move, but believed it had helped his position in the creative sector.
“It’s a big advantage for us, the creative community. You no longer have to look through individual networks, ”he says. “Susan Rovner is now the leader of this creative group. His job and goal is to be a one-stop-shop and work with creators, showrunners and visionaries to say, ‘We love this idea, how about exhibiting it on the NBC broadcast network and l ‘expose all the way down on Peacock.’ “
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It highlighted the company’s upcoming scripted series based on the Joe Exotic story, starring and executive produced by Kate McKinnon. This show will air on the NBC Broadcast Network as well as USA Network and Peacock in various windows.
He also pointed out that the reality contest series Cannonball was able to air on USA Network as well as NBC and its rights to the Dick Wolf Library of Shows on all platforms.
Elsewhere, he hinted at the revelation of more subscriber numbers for Peacock. In December, the company said it had 26 million subscribers, a number it said “exceeded” internal expectations. “Over the next few weeks, you’ll hear about rapid growth there,” he said.
He believes the Olympics will help the streamer more. “We are getting closer to cruising altitude and the Olympics are going to accelerate that,” he said.
The games will air on NBC but Lazarus has said Peacock will be used in a complementary fashion with exclusive access. He admitted pushing the event forward was disappointing, but he feels it has a chance to bring people together.
“For me, the Olympics, at this point in our history, have a chance to be a real gathering place for the world at a time when we really need a gathering place for the world to come together for sport, peace and life. It’s something to look forward to, ”he says.
Some observers wonder if the Olympics will in fact even be held this summer, especially as many countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, continue to suffer from outbreaks of the virus.
Lazarus said he believes the entire entertainment industry has done a “great” job getting back to work in light of Covid-19. “The industry has shown real leadership and we should all be proud of it. It’s not without hiccups, but I think the infection rates for all of us in our industry are lower than what we see in many communities. We have to stay vigilant and keep evolving the protocols as things change, I think we should all feel pretty good about what we’ve accomplished over the past nine months, ”he said. he declares. “I hope we get to a place where normalcy returns more and more.”