EVP, Business Operations, NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment

Roberts handles business affairs negotiations and operational strategies for NBCU’s cable networks. Moreover, she and a dedicated team are working to improve the NBCU networks’ first window offering by including expanded on-demand rights. The biggest story in cable this year, she says, is that series have become global contenders. “Broadcast used to be seen as the premiere option, but the entitlement gap is closing and the playing field is more even. With over 400 series per year being produced, content is now evaluated based on originality and creative merits, not just its initial platform.”

What advice would you give your 13-year-old self?

Persistence always overcomes resistance. To a 13-year-old, a goal or dream may seem like an impossible, daunting task, but if you put one foot in front of the other and keep trying, you’ll ultimately obtain it. It may not be a straight line and as you go through the process, it could evolve into something else, and that’s OK. The only things I haven’t achieved in life are the things I’ve given up on.

Which current programming best reflects the kind of women’s roles you like to see and why?

I really like shows with women in powerful roles, where they’re not dependent on men or just added to the scenery. Characters like Elizabeth McCord on “Madame Secretary,” the women of Mr. Robot and Jessica Pearson on “Suits” present female characters who think, lead and are independently successful. And they’re becoming an accepted part of the television landscape. Whether we’re talking about gender or diversity, we all like to watch shows that take place in the world in which we live. We want to see people who are given opportunities that we ourselves can aspire to.

What’s been the biggest story in cable this year?

Cable television programs have become global contenders. Broadcast used to be seen as the premiere option, but the entitlement gap is closing and the playing field is more even. With over 400 series per year being produced, content is now evaluated based on originality and creative merits, not just its initial platform.  “Mr. Robot” on USA Network is a great example from our own portfolio. It was able to break through a cluttered landscape with its unique storytelling and incredible actors. It became a critical darling and a very successful, award-winning show for us.

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