Bonnie Hammer

Here’s why she’s first: Hammer’s portfolio of 10 cable networks, as well as production entities Universal Cable Productions and Wilshire Studios, were the largest profit contributors to NBCU’s bottom line out of all its company divisions—a reported $2.8 billion in 2015. And as traditional linear TV continues to be disrupted, Hammer is evolving the business model by owning content, across streaming services and beyond. Examples of her strategic chops: The number of originals in 2015 under her purview totaled 137, and USA Network breakout series “Mr. Robot” earned two Emmys, a Peabody, two Golden Globes and more. This past year’s exclusive deal for U.S. cable and broadcast rights to the Harry Potter and upcoming Fantastic Beasts films in J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World franchise, the largest movie acquisition in NBCU history, will see all eight films air on USA Network and Syfy starting in 2018. If she could give advice to her college-age self, she’d say to enjoy life more. “Be authentic and be open to all possibilities, without locking yourself into a pre-ordained notion about the ‘right’ thing to do. It’s the only way to find your passion—and to be truly happy.”

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