October 27, 2020
Netflix’s Bela Bajaria, the recently promoted head of global TV, has been busy making inhouse management changes under the guise of co-CEO Ted Sarandos, to whom she reports.
Bajaria is looking to meld English-language content and non-English content departments under her control into a unified global team, resulting in myriad department redeployments and the reduction of 10 staffers below the VP level. To that end, she has combined young adult/family series production with drama and comedy, according to Deadline, which first reported the changes.
As a result, Brian Wright, former head of young adult/family group, now spearheads a new “overall deals” department. Jinny Howe and Renate Radford head the drama team, while Peter Friedlander, former boss of genre and thrillers, now oversees a new spectacle/event unit separate from drama and comedy.
With Bajaria’s promotion over the summer, and the departure of longtime Netflix executive Cindy Holland, VP of original content, there have been numerous executive exits. Channing Dungey, VP of original series and head of drama, left to become chairman of the Warner Bros. Television Group. Jane Wiseman, VP of original series and head of comedy, left earlier in October, while Nina Wolarsky, VP of drama, is leaving.
In a statement, Bajaria said that Netflix has been successful expanding local original content worldwide, including in the United States. She cited the international success of local-language series, including Germany’s “Barbarians” and Mexico’s “Dark Desire,” as examples of expanding viewership bases.
“One of the first things I did when I came into my role overseeing non-English language content in the last year was banish the word ‘international’ — because I wanted to erase this idea that there is U.S. content and ‘international’ content,” Bajaria said. “All content is local for our members, and sometimes they want to watch in a language other than their own, which Netflix makes incredibly easy and satisfying. We have strong, robust slates launching next year in many languages and in many countries for our members to enjoy.”