Nigerian-born veteran producer Pearlena Igbokwe has been named the President of Universal Television, a subsidiary of National Broadcasting Cable (NBC), Universal Television Group.
Igbokwe was born in Lagos State and grew up in a small village in the southeastern part of Nigeria where she hails from. She and her family lived through the Biafran war. At the age of six, she moved to join her father in the United States of America.
She took over from Indian-American, Bela Bajaria, who was president up until her exit in May. Following the announcement on Friday, June 3, the president of NBC Entertainment, Jennifer Salke, descibed Pearlena’s track record at NBC as remarkable, thus making her a good choice for the topmost position at the studio
Igbokwe, whom NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt brought over from Showtime where the two had worked together, has had an impressive track record since joining NBC in 2012 with a string of drama series breakouts, including The Blacklist,Blindspot and some of the Chicago spinoffs. Most of those high-profile dramas, including the upcoming This Is Us, Timeless and Taken, come from outside studios (including co-productions with Uni TV).
Igbokwe is likely being tasked with increasing Universal TV’s drama output on NBC, which is very lucrative in the international marketplace.
“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,” said Salke. “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.”
Igbokwe came to NBC Entertainment in 2012 as EVP, Drama Development after two decades at Showtime where she supervised a slew of series, from Dexter to Nurse Jackie.