Jeff Wachtel, who has served as chief content officer, NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment since 2013, has been named president, NBCUniversal International Studios. He will relocate to London next summer, switching his focus to international and global productions.
“I’m going from one dream job to another. Nothing can top my experience helping to grow USA and then [Universal Cable Productions] into hugely successful enterprises,” he said in a statement. “The only thing that could be more exciting is the adventure of moving to London and working with our great international folks to help take that business to the next level.”
Starting in January, he will report to Kevin MacLellan, chairman, NBCUniversal global distribution and international.
“The ability to produce for a local and a global audience is key to the future success of any major production company,” said MacLellan in a statement. “Jeff is one of the few creative executives in the business who has proven time and again that he can deliver shows that work on both planes. Working with him closely over the years, my team and I have always found him to be incredibly collaborative and sensitive to what works best for our international audiences. We couldn’t be more thrilled that he is joining us to help grow our production businesses around the world.”
In his current role, Wachtel has been reporting to Bonnie Hammer, chairman, NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment and Cable Studios, and responsible for the development and production of content for Bravo, E!, Oxygen, Syfy and USA. He also serves as president of Universal Cable Productions, focused on original scripted programming, and Wilshire Studios, focused on non-scripted programming.
“Jeff has a unique blend of great creative instincts and business savvy,” said Hammer, also in a statement. “It’s the reason he has one of the most impressive track records in the business and I know he’ll continue to work his magic at our International Studios.”
As president of NBCUniversal International Studios, Wachtel will work closely with Chief Operating Officer Sarah Cooper overseeing such entities as NBCUniversal International Productions, headed by JoAnn Alfano, executive vice president, scripted programming; Carnival Films, headed by Gareth Neame; Monkey Kingdom and Australia-based Matchbox Pictures.
NBCUniversal International Studios also operates two joint ventures: Working Title Television with Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner and Heyday TV with David Heyman. It also owns an equity stake in Canada’s Lark Productions and has a first-look production deal with Tom Hardy’s Hardy Son & Baker. Finally, Wachtel will oversee NBCU’s global formats business, which licenses and produces content in more than 70 territories worldwide.
Previously, Wachtel served as co-president of USA Network as well as president of original programming. During his tenure at USA Network, he shepherded to air such series as Monk, Burn Notice, The 4400, Covert Affairs, Psych, Royal Pains, White Collar and Suits, which starred princess-to-be Meghan Markle. He joined USA in 2001 as executive vice president of series and longform programming.
Prior to joining USA Network, he was executive vice president, programming, Columbia Pictures Television. He launched his career as a theater producer, producing the first New York productions of David Mamet’s Sexual Perversity in Chicago, which was adapted to the film About Last Night, and Duck Variations.
Wachtel graduated from Yale University.