Netflix head of global TV Bela Bajaria has picked her head of U.S./Canada scripted series, promoting longtime creative exec Peter Friedlander to the role.
Brian Wright, Netflix’s head of overall deals who had overseen shows including “Stranger Things,” is leaving the company. Friedlander, most recently head of spectacle and event TV programming, is assuming oversight of the company’s partnerships with creative talent. That’s in addition to Friedlander’s duties leading Netflix’s U.S. comedy and drama teams and continuing to head the big-budget spectacle/event TV group.
Friedlander is one of Netflix’s longest-tenured creative execs after joining the company in October 2011. He was the first dedicated employee on the company’s original series team, starting with “House of Cards” and “Orange Is the New Black.”
Friedlander was the creative executive responsible for shepherding some of Netflix’s highest-profile series including “Black Mirror,” “Mindhunter,” “Marvel’s Daredevil” and “The Queen’s Gambit,” along with upcoming series “Cowboy Bebop,” “Colin in Black and White,” “Vikings: Valhalla,” “The Sandman” and “The Three-Body Problem.”
“Peter is an incredibly well-regarded and respected executive both inside and outside Netflix and is the perfect person to lead our strong U.S. team,” Bajaria said in a statement. “He’s been both a producer and programmer and brings deep and trusted partnerships with some of the world’s most talented creators. His track record of creative vision, innovation and partnership has resulted in some of Netflix’s boldest and most unforgettable shows, and I can’t wait to see what he does in this leadership role.”
Friedlander’s other credits at Netflix include the streamer’s first bilingual series, “Narcos”; its first live-action interactive series, “Bandersnatch,” from the creators of “Black Mirror”; first limited series, “Godless”; and its first animated anthology, “Love, Death and Robots.” Prior to Netflix, Friedlander was an executive at Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman’s Playtone production company for more than eight years.
In a statement, Friedlander said that since he has joined Netflix, “every day has been a new adventure and this might be the biggest yet.”
“I’m thankful to Bela for the opportunity to lead the UCAN scripted series team, an incredible team full of strong creative executives who make me proud every day with their courage, knowledge and creativity,” he said. “I’m especially excited to work closely with even more of our creators, who bring our members so much joy around the world with their brilliant storytelling.”
Wright first joined Netflix in 2014. His work leading the YA/family series team included “Stranger Things,” “13 Reasons Why,” “The Umbrella Academy” and “Atypical.” Bajaria named Wright head of overall deals in October 2020, and he has worked closely with Ryan Murphy, the Duffer Brothers and 21 Laps Entertainment, among others.
Bajaria and Friedlander said in a joint statement, “Brian has brought passion and heart to all of his projects and he helped put Netflix on the map with shows like ‘Stranger Things.’ We’re grateful for everything he has done and wish him great success with his next chapter.”
Wright commented, “My past seven years at Netflix have been a dream come true. It’s not often you get the chance to make shows that the entire world embraces, like ‘Stranger Things.’ And leading our YA/family and overall deals teams has been an honor. I’m grateful for the opportunity and to the creators I’ve worked with for their partnership over the years.”
Reporting to Friedlander are head of comedy series Tracey Pakosta; Jinny Howe, head of drama, development, and Renate Radford, head of drama, current, who together lead drama series across genres including crime, thriller, YA, relationship and character-driven; and Friedlander’s previous spectacle/event TV team and the overall deals team.
Brandon Riegg continues as head of nonfiction series and comedy specials, reporting up to Bajaria.
Bajaria last September was promoted to global TV boss, after serving as head of local-language originals. Concurrently, longtime originals chief Cindy Holland left the company, followed by the departures of other Netflix TV execs including Channing Dungey (now chairman of Warner Bros. Television).