Veteran television executive and executive producer Jeff Wachtel is co-president, USA Network, and co-head, original content, Universal Cable Productions. He jointly oversees strategic direction and operations across all platforms for USA. Wachtel previously held the position of president, original programming, where he oversaw all original programming, including scripted series, reality/alternative, original movies and miniseries. In his role for the studio, he shares oversight of all aspects of operations, including development of content for USA and other cable networks across all media platforms. Wachtel reports to Bonnie Hammer, chairman, NBC Universal Cable Entertainment and Cable Studios. He is based in Los Angeles.
Wachtel joined USA in 2001 as executive vice president of series and long-form programming, and was most recently president. USA’s scripted series have made USA the #1 rated cable network across the board for five years running. During his tenure, he developed and launched award-winning and critically-acclaimed scripted series, original movies, miniseries and non-scripted content, including ground-breaking originals Burn Notice, Royal Pains, White Collar, Covert Affairs, Psych, In Plain Sight, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, A Legal Mind, Necessary Roughness and Fairly Legal as well as the innovators in the cable arena, Monk, The Dead Zone, The 4400 and The Starter Wife. As co-head of UCP, Wachtel announced the studios first outside development deals with MTV and Lifetime, and a creative development deal with Steve Franks, creator of Psych.
Prior to joining USA, Wachtel served as president of new media at Landscape Television, a television and film production company founded by Robert Cooper. He became head of television series and developed a number of longform television projects, including “The Olympic Scandal” project for FX, “The New New Thing” for NBC, a TV movie for VH1 and a three-hour special for CBS. Wachtel also served as president of Alliance Atlantis Television, U.S., supervising all series and longform programming for Canada’s leading program supplier. He created and was the executive producer of the first-run syndicated series “Pensacola: Wings of Gold” while president of 3 Arts Television, a production company that partnered with CBS, Sony, and 3 Arts Management. Wachtel also served at Columbia Pictures Television, starting as vice president of movies and miniseries, where he developed and supervised “Switched at Birth” and “Christmas on Division Street,” and rose to executive vice president of primetime television, where he developed “Party of Five,” “Dawson’s Creek,” “Birdland” and “Dark Skies.” Earlier, he was senior vice president, movies and miniseries at Orion Television, where he worked on “Equal Justice,” and vice president, development, at Robert Cooper Productions, where he worked on “Murderers Among Us: The Simon Wiesenthal Story” and “Dead Man Out.” Wachtel began his career as a theatre director and producer, and produced the first New York productions of David Mamet’s plays Sexual Perversity in Chicago and Duck Variations.
A graduate of Yale University, Wachtel is a founding member of L.A. Works, a community-based volunteer organization, a board member of the Zimmer Children’s Museum and is a past member of the board of directors of the Hollywood Radio and Television Society.