Pearlena Igbokwe is Chairman, Universal Studio Group. In this role, she 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. She reports directly to Jeff Shell, CEO NBCUniversal.
Currently, Pearlena oversees the production of over 2500 hours of of programming currently airing or streaming around the globe and manages a slate of ambitious storytellers including Tina Fey, Seth MacFarlane, Amy Poehler, Dick Wolf, Lorne Michaels, Michael Schur, Nahnatchka Khan, Sam Esmail, Julie Plec, Larry Wilmore, Debra Martin Chase, Gareth Neame, Alan Yang, David Heyman, Sean Hayes, and Tanya Saracho, among numerous others.
From June 2016 to September 2020, Igbokwe was President, Universal Television where she oversaw creative development, casting and production for one of the country's 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 (“The Blacklist,” “Blindspot” and “This Is Us”).
Igbokwe worked at Showtime for 20 years where she was involved in developing the pilot and overseeing the first five seasons of “Dexter,” Showtime's most popular series ever. She also developed the pilot for “Masters of Sex,” starring Michael Sheen, and supervised the Emmy Award-winning and critically acclaimed original series “Nurse Jackie.” In addition, she shepherded Tracey Ullman's “State of the Union,” Damon Wayans' “The Underground,” Kirstie Alley's “Fat Actress” and the television adaptation of the hit feature film “Barbershop.” She was also instrumental in the five-season run of the hit Showtime series “Soul Food,” a two-time NAACP Image Award winner for Best Drama Series.
Igbokwe has mined success from a number of original movies she developed for Showtime, including the Humanitas Award-nominated “Jasper, Texas,” starring Academy Award winners Jon Voight and Louis Gossett Jr.; the Emmy-nominated “Bojangles,” starring the late Gregory Hines; and the Peabody Award-winning “Strange Justice.”
She began her Showtime career as Manager of Direct Response, Television Marketing and earlier worked as an Associate at NBC in New York City.
Igbokwe has been featured in numerous industry trade magazines for her leadership, including The Hollywood Reporter (Women in Entertainment Power 100, Top 35 Under 35), Variety (Power of Women), Ebony (Top 50 Showbiz Players) and Essence, among others.
She currently serves on the boards of the Hollywood Radio and TV Society (HRTS) and National Association of TV Programming Executives (NATPE), as well as the Television Academy Executive Committee.
Igbowke, who was born in Nigeria, is married and has two children. She resides in Los Angeles.