Bonnie Hammer is Chairman, NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment Group. Her responsibilities comprise executive oversight of leading cable brands USA, Syfy, E! Entertainment, Bravo, Oxygen, Style, Esquire Network, Sprout, TV One, Chiller, Cloo and Universal HD, as well as production entities Universal Cable Productions and Wilshire Studios.
An industry leader in network programming and branding, Hammer was previously Chairman, NBCU Cable Entertainment and Cable Studios. She assumed responsibility for E!, G4 (now Esquire Network) and Wilshire Studios in 2011, adding to her previous oversight of USA and Syfy. In March 2008, she took the reins of the newly created studio Universal Cable Productions, which generates quality content across multiple media platforms for USA, Syfy and other networks. At the same time, she assumed leadership of Cloo, Chiller and Universal HD, which are among cable’s most successful digital networks.
Under Hammer’s leadership, USA has achieved the #1 position in all of basic cable for a record-setting six years with a stable of top-rated, Emmy and Golden Globe-honored programs including “Monk,” “Psych,” “Burn Notice,” “In Plain Sight,” “Law and Order: Criminal Intent,” “Royal Pains,” “White Collar,” “Covert Affairs,” “Fairly Legal,” “Necessary Roughness,” “Suits ,” “Common Law” and “Political Animals.” In October 2005, she engineered the return of ratings powerhouse WWE’s “Monday Night Raw,” which celebrated its 1000th episode in July 2012.
In 2009, Hammer drew on the legacy of USA’s original “Erase the Hate” pro-social campaign, which she had spearheaded, to create “Characters Unite,” a public service program dedicated to combating hate and discrimination and promoting tolerance and acceptance. Under Hammer’s leadership, Characters Unite has grown into an award-winning, multi-platform initiative including on-air programming such as documentaries “Tom Brokaw Presents Bridging the Divide” and “NFL Characters Unite,” as well as specially-themed episodes of USA’s hit series; original Public Service Announcement (PSA) campaigns; extensive digital content at charactersunite.com and via social media outlets; and community outreach and high school education programs, featuring a partnership with the renowned nonprofit The Moth to use the power of storytelling to foster greater respect and understanding.
During Hammer’s tenure, Syfy has become a global brand, extending its reach to over 60 territories worldwide. In the U.S., Syfy has become a Top 5 cable network in ratings and an industry leader in original programming. In December 2002, Hammer led Syfy to a stunning success with “Steven Spielberg Presents TAKEN,” the Emmy-winning, 20-hour miniseries. Syfy’s current programming slate includes “Warehouse 13,” “Being Human,” “Alphas,” “Haven” and the upcoming “Defiance,” the first-ever convergence of television and Massive Multiplayer Online gaming. Successes on the channel’s reality front include “Face Off,” “Ghost Hunters,” “Destination Truth” and “Paranormal Witness.” Syfy has also partnered with Universal Pictures to launch Syfy Films, a new film company that will develop and produce Syfy-branded theatrical motion pictures to be distributed by Universal.
Hammer has overseen growth for E! Entertainment since adding the channel to her portfolio in 2011. In July 2012, E! unveiled a major brand evolution of the network and relaunch of its market-leading E! Online website, both of which solidified the brand’s leadership as the global destination for fans of pop culture. Popular programming includes E! core franchises “E! News,” “The Soup,” “Chelsea Lately” and “Fashion Police,” as well as the network’s hit series “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” and its spin-off series, plus “Ice Loves Coco” and “After Lately.” Additionally, E!’s “Live from the Red Carpet” signature events keep fans connected to their favorite stars on pop culture’s biggest nights. In 2013, E! will debut its first scripted series.
A leader in innovative and critically acclaimed programming, Universal Cable Productions is the studio behind USA’s “Royal Pains,” “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” “Psych,” “In Plain Sight,” “Covert Affairs,” “Fairly Legal” and “Suits” along with Syfy’s “Eureka,” “Warehouse 13,” “Caprica,” “Alphas” and “Defiance.” The studio also produced the long-running series “Monk” and the Peabody Award-winning “Battlestar Galactica,” and has developed and produced “Against The Wall” for Lifetime and “I Just Want My Pants Back” for MTV.
Cloo is the first entertainment cable channel dedicated entirely to the intensely popular and enduring mystery and crime genres. Universal HD offers the best of NBC Universal in 100% 1080i HD; programming includes premiere sporting events, unedited and uninterrupted films and award winning series. Chiller is the entertainment network devoted exclusively to the horror/thriller genre, featuring exciting series, spine-tingling reality, and thrilling feature films.
Hammer originally joined the company in 1989, and her previous titles include executive vice president, general manager of Syfy Channel and senior vice president of Syfy Programming & USA Original Productions. At USA, she partnered with Vince McMahon to transform the WWF franchise into a ratings powerhouse and cultural phenomenon. She also created at that time USA’s “Erase the Hate” campaign, which earned a National Emmy Governor’s Award.
Prior to joining Universal Television, 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.
The Hollywood Reporter has consistently cited Hammer on its annual list of the most important women in Hollywood; she has also been named to Fortune’s list of “50 Most Powerful Women”, Forbes’ list of “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women” and Vanity Fair’s annual list of “Powers that Be.” In 2012, she received the prestigious Crystal Lucy Award from Women in Film for Excellence in Television. 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. She has also received a MUSE award for Outstanding Vision & Achievement from New York Women in Film and Television. Hammer serves on the board of the Ad Council, as well as the strategic planning committee for Boston University’s College of Communication, and is a mentor for Women in Film & Television.
As a photographer, Hammer has had her work displayed in several galleries and published in Time, 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.