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Wachtel to replace Edelstein at NBCUIS

NBCUniversal is moving veteran executive Jeff Wachtel to the UK to succeed Michael Edelstein, whose departure was announced last month.

Jeff Wachtel

Wachtel, currently chief content officer for NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment and head of Universal Cable Productions, is moving to London to become president of NBCUniversal International Studios (NBCUIS).

The move follows the departure of Edelstein, who announced in October he was stepping aside after seven years and will leave in January.

Wachtel will oversee a portfolio of production companies that includes Downton Abbey producer Carnival Films and factual specialist Monkey Kingdom, among many others. He reports to Kevin MacLellan, NBCU’s chairman of global distribution and international.

He previously oversaw NBC cablenets including Oxygen, Bravo, E! and Syfy as well as scripted studio Universal Cable Productions and non-scripted label Wilshire Studios.

His 30-year career includes a stint as executive VP of original programming at USA Network.

MacLellan said: “The ability to produce for a local and a global audience is key to the future success of any major production company. 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.”

Wachtel added: “I’m going from one dream job to another. Nothing can top my experience helping to grow USA and then UCP into hugely successful enterprises. And I have been lucky to benefit from Bonnie’s leadership and my wonderful relationship with the incredible NBCU teams.

“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.”

Edelstein originally took over as head of NBCUIS following the exits of Angela Bromstad and Denise O’Donoghue, working on shows such as Downton Abbey.

He also oversaw reality show Made in Chelsea from Monkey Kingdom and was behind the acquisition of Australian prodco Matchbox Pictures.

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