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Amazon Studios hires NBC exec to replace ousted chief

Jennifer Salke, who shepherded hits like "This is Us," will lead Amazon's Hollywood arm after its leader was fired following sexual-harassment claims.

Jennifer Salke stands at a podium in front of the NBC 'peacock" logo
Jennifer Salke most recenlty ran comedy- and drama-show development as president of NBC Entertainment. 
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Amazon has hired NBC executive Jennifer Salke as the head of its Hollywood arm, the company said Friday. 

The previous head of Amazon Studios, Roy Price, was ousted in October in the midst of claims he sexually harassed a producer of one the the group's high-profile productions, "The Man in the High Castle." 

Salke's appointment comes amid a nationwide reckoning with harassment in workplaces in Hollywood, Silicon Valley and elsewhere. Price was fired a week after a New York Times story about movie producer Harvey Weinstein sparked an outpouring of reports about inappropriate behavior using the #MeToo hashtag. 

But it could also be a response, in part, to concerns about the tech industry's meager numbers of women in its top ranks. Amazon had reportedly been seeking a woman executive for the role leading Amazon Studios. Nancy Dubuc, the president and CEO of A+E Networks, had reportedly been on the short list as well until this week. 

On Friday, Salke highlighted how Amazon Studios' has "innovated, disrupted, and created characters that are already an indelible part of pop-culture" in a short period of time, according to a statement. "I look forward to being on the front lines of an innovative business with storytelling at its heart," she said. 

Most recently, Salke was president at Comcast's NBCUniversal, where she oversaw comedy and drama programming develoment, as well as casting, business affairs and diversity initiatives at NBC Entertainment. Previously, she worked at Twentieth Century Fox and Aaron Spelling Productions.  

She ushered in hits like "This is Us" at NBC and "Modern Family" and "Glee" while she was at Fox. 

"What stood out about Jen was the deep relationships she has nurtured with creators and talent," Jeff Blackburn, Amazon's senior vice president of business development and entertainment, said in a statement. He also cited her "impeccable reputation as a big leader who emphasizes creativity, collaboration and teamwork."

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