Nigerian-born Pearlena Igbokwe has been named President Universal Television, a subsidiary of National Broadcasting Cable (NBC), Universal Television Group.
The veteran Executive Producer is not only the first Igbo to head a major US television studio, but also the first African-American female to assume the position.
She was named studio president on Friday, replacing Indian-American Bela Bajaria who stepped down earlier in the week after nearly five years of running the Los Angeles-based unit.
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Announcing Igbokwe’s new position on Friday, the president of NBC Entertainment, Jennifer Salke, described her track record at NBC as remarkable, thus making her a good choice for the topmost position at the studio. Jennifer said:
“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. Her leadership, vision and taste have resulted in an impressive string of drama successes – fromThe Blacklist, Blindspot, Chicago Med, Shades of Blue and the upcoming series This Is Us, Timelessand Taken—that coincides with our return to a top position among networks.”
Pearlena Igbokwe was born in Lagos State, grew up in a small village in the southeastern part of Nigeria where she hails from and had joined her father in the US at the age of six after the Nigerian civil war. She joined NBC Entertainment four years ago as executive vice president for drama development after working two decades as a programming executive for Showtime Networks, which is owned by CBS Corp. Greenblatt was in charge of programming at Showtime until 2011, when he joined NBC.
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She was featured as one of Multichannel News’ “Wonder Women” in 2010, had also appeared previously in Hollywood Reporter’s “Top 35 under 35,” as well as in Ebony and Black Enterprise’s “Top 50 Showbiz Players.”