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Troubled NBC calls on exec Angela Bromstad to revive prime time

The network passed over Bromstad two years ago. Now it's counting on her to find hits, starting tonight.

April 09, 2009|Meg James

It will be up to Bromstad to inject stability into NBC's programming department, which in recent years has produced a more compelling drama in its management suites than for the TV screen.

Two executives lost their jobs in part to clear the path for Bromstad's return: Katherine Pope, a rival to Bromstad who had been running NBC's television studio, and Teri Weinberg, Silverman's No. 2. Weinberg, who had been in charge of program development, received a lucrative two-year producing deal at NBC.

Also on Bromstad's to-do list is the task of regaining the trust of Hollywood agents and producers who have been alienated by NBC's puzzling proclamations, such as when Silverman said he was "managing for margins," not chasing shows that would generate big ratings.

Jason Katims, executive producer of "Friday Night Lights," said he bonded with Bromstad several years ago when she expressed confidence in his vision for the show. Then last fall Katims was drafted to spearhead an adaptation of the 1989 movie "Parenthood" as a family-oriented dramedy for NBC.

Some network executives would flyspeck a script with notes about plot, character and dialogue to exert control. But Bromstad demonstrated her tendency to stay out of a producer's way. According to Katims, she sent back just one note on his outline: "When can you have a draft of the script?"

Since then, Bromstad has worked closely with Katims to develop the characters for "Parenthood." He said she took a special interest in the stay-at-home dad character, making sure the story lines dealt with his inner conflict.

"She has a way of distilling these characters in a way that makes them feel real," he said.

Katims said he appreciated Bromstad's collaborative style. "She doesn't go out of her way to take on that persona, that she's the big head of the network. She seems comfortable in her own skin."

Bromstad said she was feeling at ease too.

"It feels great to be home," she said. "It helped to get away from Hollywood politics. It's good to be realistic about the issues that we are facing, but I'm not worn out."

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meg.james@latimes.com

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(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

Coming home

Who: Angela Bromstad

Position: President, Prime-time Entertainment, NBC and Universal Media Studios

Background: Born in Minnesota. One of four children, raised in Cardiff- by-the-Sea in San Diego County. Her parents ran a trade magazine for high-end jewelers.

College: Attended USC and Southern Methodist University in Dallas, where she studied theater.

First job in television: Receptionist at Telepictures. Bromstad later worked with Freyda Rothstein, a noted producer of TV movies, then joined NBC in 1994.

Personal: Married with two children, ages 26 and 13.

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