Pearlena Igbokwe Now Heads Universal Studio Group

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Pearlena Igbokwe photographed for Variety at the PMC Studio in Los Angeles
Pearlena Igbokwe, until recently, president of Universal Television, has assumed the position of Head, Universal Studio Group.

Pearlena Igbokwe, until recently, president of Universal Television, has assumed the position of Head, Universal Studio Group.

Igbokwe exited her previous position to make way for long time NBC Universal, Erin Underhill.

It marks the first of three major hires for Igbokwe’s studio group, which is also searching for executives to run UCP following the departure of Dawn Olmstead to Anonymous Content and NBC Universal International Studios, that following the departure of Jeff Wachtel.

Commenting on the shuffle, Igbokwe said: “Throughout her 20-plus-year career at NBCUniversal, Erin has been involved with some of our company’s most iconic shows. Her extraordinary instincts for story are unmatched and valued by her team and she has earned the unqualified respect of all our producers. She brings a deep understanding of the industry and our studio business as well as a high level of emotional intelligence to this role. I am excited to see her build upon what she has already contributed to the Universal Television legacy.”

On her part, Underhill said: “The opportunity to lead Universal Television, the only studio I have ever called home, is a dream come true. I am very grateful to Pearlena for trusting and believing in me and am honoured to lead what I consider to be the best team of executives in town. It is a privilege to work with an undeniable roster of immense creative talent. Together we will continue to expand our reach and tell entertaining, escapist and authentic stories that bring meaning and connection to audiences around the world.”

Pearlena Igbokwe is responsible for all aspects of creative affairs and production for NBCUniversal’s three powerhouse studios: Universal Television, Universal Content Productions (UCP), and NBCUniversal International Studios.

Currently, Pearlena oversees the production of over 2500 hours of programming currently airing or streaming around the globe.

Igbokwe was born in Lagos, Nigeria in the 1960s.  She moved to the United States at the age of six. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University and an MBA from Columbia University.

From June 2016 to September 2020, Igbokwe was President of Universal Television where she oversaw creative development, casting and production for one of the US’ largest and most successful studios. She led the division to new heights with record volume, commercial success, and critical acclaim. Some of her programming highlights include Russian Doll, The Good Place, New Amsterdam, The Bold Type, Good Girls, and Dick Wolf’s successful new franchise, FBI and FBI: Most Wanted, among numerous other notable projects. In a highly competitive landscape, Igbokwe was able to secure pickups for her projects on every major streaming service, a variety of premium cable outlets and every broadcast network.

Before her studio role, Igbokwe served as Executive Vice President, Drama Programming for NBC Entertainment, where she developed the top-rated new broadcast dramas for three out of her four years in the role.

She began her Showtime career as Manager of Direct Response, Television Marketing and earlier worked as an Associate at NBC in New York City.

Henry Onoghan

Henry Onoghan

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