Marc Graboff was named Thursday as West Coast president of NBC Universal Television.
The elevation of the veteran business affairs executive reinforces a trend among media companies to promote attorneys turned business executives ahead of creative executives as contract negotiations and deals become more complex.
Other former attorneys in top executive posts include Bruce Rosenblum, Warner Bros. Television Group president; Mark Pedowitz, president of Walt Disney Co.'s Touchstone Television; Nancy Tellem, president, CBS Paramount Network Television Entertainment Group; and Gary Newman, president of 20th Century Fox Television.
In an interview, NBC Universal Television Chief Executive Jeff Zucker described his longtime confidant as the "day-to-day consigliore" of the television giant's sprawling empire.
"This promotion more formally recognizes Marc's role," Zucker said.
Graboff, 49, is based in Burbank, where he has informally overseen administration for the network and television studio since parent company General Electric Co. acquired Universal Studios in 2004.
NBC Entertainment President Kevin Reilly and NBC Universal Television Studio President Angela Bromstad will report to Graboff on business, operational and administrative matters. They will continue reporting to Zucker on creative and programming issues.
Graboff got his start in Hollywood in 1978 as an assistant to Universal Studios President Ron Meyer when Meyer was an agent at Creative Artists Agency. Graboff said he would spend more time concentrating on digital platforms, including working out deals for next-day downloads of NBC-produced shows.
Graboff said he wouldn't meddle in casting or other parts of the creative process.
"The last thing the TV business needs is another former attorney making creative decisions," he joked.
Chris Silbermann, partner at talent agency Broder Webb Chervin Silbermann, applauded the move.
"Marc is a guy who knows how to encourage business, not discourage it," Silbermann said. "Everybody in the community loves dealing with him."