Netflix hires Universal exec to head content team

Netflix hires Universal exec to head content team
Published: 8 October 2016 - 2:23 a.m.
By: Digital Production Middle East Staff

Bela Bajaria is joining Netflix Inc as vice president of content, leading the team focused on TV and film licencing from major U.S. studios, as well co-production relationships with major U.S. networks. She will also oversee a new team developing original unscripted programs for Netflix.

Bajaria, who previously was president, Universal Television and a long-time CBS TV executive, comes to Netflix as it updates industry content licencing practices to better serve consumers around the world and moves spending away from traditional licensing into co-production and development partnerships with studios and networks.

“Bela is a great creative television executive with broad experience and deep industry relationships,” said Ted Sarandos, chief content officer, Netflix. “Having worked closely with her on Master of None and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, we know we have found the perfect executive to lead this new effort.”

Netflix is co-producing series including Star Trek with CBS, The Alienist with Paramount TV and the just-launched, hit ABC series Designated Survivor with E One, sharing windows globally with original broadcasters and ensuring early financing. This effort complements a growing slate of original scripted series, films, documentaries, kids’ series and stand-up comedy specials.

"I am looking forward to joining Netflix, an innovative company that supports creative vision and fosters risk-taking. Having worked closely with Ted, Cindy and the team, I know they are great creative partners and care deeply about the experience of talent, their partners and their members,” said Bela Bajaria. “They are a dynamic group and I’m looking forward to continue building new partnerships at Netflix with amazing talent and studio and network colleagues."
Bajaria starts at Netflix on November 1.

Prior to joining Netflix, Bajaria served as President, Universal Television, overseeing creative programming for the studio and producing such hit series as Master of None and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt for Netflix; Brooklyn Nine-Nine for FOX; The Mindy Project for FOX and Hulu; Superstore for NBC and Bates Motel for A&E, among several others. She developed Gypsy, starring Naomi Watts, for Netflix which will premiere in 2017 as well as Pure Genius for CBS and The Good Place for NBC, which are on the network’s 2016 fall schedules.

Earlier, Bajaria held two key posts simultaneously: senior vice president, Cable Programming for CBS TV Studios, and Senior Vice President of Movies and Miniseries for the CBS network. Upon creating the cable division at CBS TV Studios in 2007, she shepherded many cable dramas and comedies from prolific writer/directors. Concurrently, she oversaw the CBS Sunday Night Movie -- the #1 TV movie franchise for over 10 years.

Bajaria has served as president of the industry organisation Hollywood Radio & Television Society. She supports SAHARA, a non-profit organization that serves victims of domestic violence. Several distinguished groups have honoured Bajaria, including: the March of Dimes which honoured her with “Woman of the Year;” the I Have a Dream Foundation of Los Angeles, which awarded the Dream Keeper Award; and the Industry Leadership Award from the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles. Additionally, she is an executive board member of the Television Academy and serves on the board of Los Angeles’ Saban Community Clinic.


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