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Interview: NBCU’s Gaspin: ‘NBC No Longer Stands Alone’

An era ended for NBC when Jeff Gaspin became chairman of NBC Universal (NYSE: GE) Television Entertainment Monday. The broadcast network no longer stands alone from the NBC cable nets that brought in 60 percent of the GE unit’s earnings in 2008. Gaspin already runs the entertainment cable nets, NBCU’s television distribution across platforms, and Telemundo broadcast network and its owned stations. Now, as part of the changes with the departure of Ben Silverman to IAC (NSDQ: IACI), Gaspin oversees all of the company’s television entertainment assets with Marc Graboff, Silverman’s partner in running NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios for the last two years, reporting to him.

Gaspin, who has been with NBCU for most of his career with the exception of a stint at VH1, couldn’t be farther from the sometimes outrageous Silverman in temperament but the two have a lot in common, including three hit shows for NBC (among them The Biggest Loser) and a belief that advertising support has to play a bigger role in network programming. We talked Monday about what the changes mean for NBC, the issue of TV Everywhere and authentication, and more. Edited excerpts follow.

Staci D. Kramer: There seems to be some kind of idea that cable somehow has ruled supreme in this but it really isn’t about that, is it?
Jeff Gaspin: I don’t think so. I think we