Bonnie Hammer was named Chairman, NBCUniversal Content Studios in 2019. In this role, Hammer helms the company’s award-winning television studios – Universal Television and Universal Content Productions. She reports to Steve Burke, CEO, NBCUniversal.
Previously, Hammer was Chairman, Direct-to-Consumer and Digital Enterprises, where she built the brand and initial content slate for Peacock, NBCUniversal’s upcoming streaming service. Before that, Hammer was Chairman, NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment where she had executive oversight of leading cable brands USA Network, SYFY, Bravo, Oxygen, E! Entertainment and Universal Kids. She also oversaw two Hollywood studios, Universal Cable Productions and Wilshire Studios, as well as the digital business Bluprint.
Under Hammer's leadership, USA was the most-watched entertainment cable channel for a record-setting 13 consecutive years with a history of top-rated and critically-acclaimed programs including “Mr. Robot” (2016 Emmy and Golden Globe winner), “The Sinner” (Emmy and Golden Globe nominee), “Suits,” “Colony,” “Royal Pains,” “White Collar,” “Psych,” “Burn Notice,” “Political Animals,” and “Monk.” In 2014, USA added unscripted programming and original comedy to its slate, with reality series “Chrisley Knows Best” and the half-hour comedy “Playing House” quickly becoming breakout hits. USA is also the home of WWE’s “Raw”and “SmackDown.” “WWE Raw” is the most-watched regularly scheduled, year-round program on cable, airing a live three-hour block every Monday night, 52 weeks a year.
During Hammer's tenure, SYFY became a global brand, extending its reach to 116 countries worldwide. The network has a history of delivering award-winning original series such as “Battlestar Galactica,” the event miniseries “Steven Spielberg Presents Taken,” “The Expanse” and “Face Off,” plus critic and fan favorites like “Happy!,” “The Magicians,” the “Stargate” franchise, and the worldwide and social media hit film series “Sharknado.” In addition to its premium original programming, the network features live events and breaking news coverage via SYFY WIRE, which has become the go-to news site for genre fans.
Hammer oversaw growth, both domestically and internationally, for E! Entertainment since adding the global pop culture brand to her portfolio in 2010. E! remains home to some of TV’s most buzzy unscripted franchises, including “Keeping Up with the Kardashians," “Botched,” “Total Divas” and “Hollywood Medium with Tyler Henry.” “E! News” has also continued its tremendous multi-platform growth, including the popular Snapchat series “The Rundown” and a dynamic Facebook Live news slate. E! also successfully expanded into scripted programming with the drama series “The Royals” and “The Arrangement.” The network continues to expand its live events programming strategy, building on the long-running success of “Live from the Red Carpet” with the acquisition of the “People's Choice Awards,” which debuted in November 2018 on E!
Hammer added Bravo and Oxygen to her portfolio of networks in 2013. Bravo, with its premium lifestyle and entertainment content, became a top 7 cable entertainment network and in 2017, for the first time, ranked #1 with female viewers in key demos. The network’s buzzy hits include Emmy-winner “Top Chef,” “The Real Housewives” and “Million Dollar Listing” franchises, the headline making late-night talk show “Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen,” and critically-acclaimed scripted series “Dirty John” and “Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce.” Oxygen Media rebranded as a multi-platform crime destination network for women in summer 2017, and was the year’s fastest growing cable entertainment network in both primetime and total day viewers.
Also in 2013, Hammer oversaw the full acquisition of Sprout, a leading destination for preschoolers and their families, adding it to the NBCU Cable Entertainment portfolio. Under Hammer, Sprout transitioned into an originals-driven network, successfully launching top-rated new series including “Floogals” and Randi Zuckerberg’s “Dot.” In September 2017, Sprout relaunched as Universal Kids, a new network that continues to be the premier source for preschool programming as it expands its content to include DreamWorks Animation Television series, unscripted entertainment including “Top Chef Junior,” “American Ninja Warrior Junior,” live action scripted originals and proven international hits, extending its audience to 2-12 year-olds.
In addition to her cable networks, Hammer oversaw two production studios: Universal Cable Productions, focusing on scripted content, and Wilshire Studios, specializing in reality programming. Both entities work with top Hollywood producers and writers to develop and produce owned content for the networks of NBCU Cable Entertainment, as well as for outside linear channels and digital streaming services including: “Homecoming” for Amazon starring Julia Roberts, “The Umbrella Academy” for Netflix starring Ellen Page and Mary J. Blige, and “The Act” for Hulu starring Patricia Arquette.
In 2016, with a move that Variety Magazine described as “Bonnie Hammer blowing up the cable TV management playbook,” she centralized all original scripted content for the portfolio under one team and formed a new area, Strategy and Commercial Growth, tasked with developing forward-thinking planning. In May of 2017, Hammer and the new division identified and acquired the complementary digital business Craftsy, rebranded in 2018 as Bluprint.
Earlier in her career, Hammer was an original programming executive at Lifetime Television Network, where she executive produced several award-winning documentaries for the network’s acclaimed Signature Series. She was honored with the Lillian Gish Award, several Cine Golden Eagles and the National Association for Youth’s Mentor Award. Before coming to New York, Hammer executive produced “Good Day!” for WCVB in Boston, and produced the series “This Old House,” “Infinity Factory” and “Zoom!” for PBS.
Hammer has been named the “Most Powerful Woman in Entertainment” by The Hollywood Reporter and is featured annually on its “Power 100” list. She is also regularly included among Fortune’s “50 Most Powerful Women,” Forbes’ list of “The World's 100 Most Powerful Women” and Vanity Fair's annual “New Establishment” list.
Throughout her career, Hammer has demonstrated and been recognized for her strong commitment to social issues. In October 2017, Hammer relaunched her award-winning pro-social campaign Erase The Hate, leveraging the resources of her entire portfolio to identify and amplify new voices advocating for acceptance, respect and inclusivity. The campaign has been reinvented for today’s world, to address the critical issue of hate now spreading at unprecedented speeds online and in our communities. Originally created in 1994 at USA Network, Erase the Hatewon an Emmy Award for its groundbreaking documentaries and specials, community programs and educational materials. The campaign later evolved into USA’s Characters Unite, which received many prestigious accolades and honors for its on-air programming, PSAs, digital content and on-the-ground initiatives.
In June of 2015, Hammer was honored by UJA Federation of New York with the group’s Steven J. Ross Humanitarian Award. In 2013, she received the Matrix Award from New York Women in Communications. In 2012, she received the prestigious Crystal+Lucy Award from Women in Film. She was also honored in 2012 by B’nai B’rith for “her commitment to initiatives confronting racism and bigotry,” and she was cited by acclaimed storytelling organization and Characters Unite partner The Moth for “philanthropic leadership in programs to end prejudice, discrimination and bullying.” She received the 2010 Vanguard Award for Distinguished Leadership from the National Cable Television Association. In 2008, Hammer received the Anti-Defamation League’s Entertainment Industry Award; she has since chaired ADL’s National Entertainment Advisory Council. In 2007, she was honored with NATPE's Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award, and was inducted into Broadcasting & Cable's Hall of Fame. Hammer has received a MUSE award for Outstanding Vision & Achievement from New York Women in Film and Television.
Hammer serves on the Board of Directors of eBay and IAC/InteractiveCorp. She also sits on the Board of Governors for the MPTF Foundation and serves on the strategic planning committee for Boston University’s College of Communication.
As a photographer, Hammer has had her work displayed in several galleries and published in Time magazine, The Boston Globe, the Boston Herald, The Los Angeles Times, and various Houghton-Mifflin and Little Brown Books.
Hammer holds a bachelor's degree in communications and a master’s degree in media and new technology from Boston University. She also received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters upon delivering the commencement address to Boston University’s graduating class of 2017.