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Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Jeff Wachtel Exits as President of NBCUniversal International Studios, Leaves Peacock After 20 Years

Long-time NBCUniversal executive Jeff Wachtel has left the company, Variety has confirmed. He most recently served as president of NBCUniversal International Studios.

Variety understands that Wachtel’s departure follows some issues pertaining to respect in the workplace, after which it was agreed that Wachtel would leave the company. It’s believed a search for his replacement is underway.

Wachtel served for nearly two decades at NBCUniversal, crossing the pond to London in 2018 to oversee NBCU International’s portfolio of production companies and manage the development of formats and content partnerships for the Peacock. Replacing Michael Edelstein as head of the business’s international TV strategy, Wachtel’s arrival in the U.K. was met with much fanfare, and he became a regular face at local conferences like the Royal Television Society events.

His production bona fides (“Mr. Robot,” “The Sinner”) won him the respect of the local production community, and his passion for scripted programming in particular was evident from the get-go.

Companies under Wachtel’s oversight included Carnival Films, creator of global hit “Downton Abbey”, Netflix series “The Last Kingdom” and “Belgravia” for ITV and EPIX. The portfolio also included Monkey Kingdom, producer of BAFTA-winning “Made in Chelsea”, reality ITVBe hit “The Real Housewives of Cheshire” and ITV2 hip hop comedy show “Don’t Hate The Playaz.”

Wachtel also managed Australia’s Matchbox Pictures, producers of drama series “Glitch,” “The Slap,” “Safe Harbour” and, most recently, the Cate Blanchett-led “Stateless.” He was also responsible for NBCUniversal International Studios’ joint production ventures with Working Title Television (“Tales of the City”, “The Luminaries”) and Heyday Television (“The Long Song”, “The Capture”), as well as providing strategic oversight to the international outfit’s LA and U.K.-based scripted unit, which includes “Hanna” for Amazon Prime Video.

Wachtel had been chief content officer for NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment and head of Universal Cable Productions since 2013. His oversight in those roles included hit shows like “Mr. Robot”, “The Sinner” and “Suits” at USA Network, “Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce” at Bravo, “The Magicians” and “12 Monkeys” at Syfy, and Hulu original series “Difficult People.”

Prior to joining the NBCUniversal conglomerate, Wachtel was co-president of USA, overseeing original programming, including “Monk”, “Burn Notice” and “Suits.” Before joining the network side of the business, the executive worked extensively as a film, TV and stage producer and studio executive.

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