A remarkable track record of Pearlena’s drama programming on NBC let her to become the first Igbo woman to head famous US TV studio! How did she manage to do that? Find out in this article.
Pearlena Igbokwe was presented as the President of Universal Television and a subsidiary of NBC (National Broadcasting Cable), Universal Television Group. This Nigerian-born woman is not only considered to be the first true ‘Igbo’ to lead a major American TV studio, but also the first African-American lady to get such a position.
Who are Igbo people?
Igbo, or also called Ibo, are people, who live mainly in the south-east of Nigeria. They speak the Igbo language, branch of the Benue-Congo and family of Niger-Congo. Igbo can be grouped into the following major cultural divisions: the Northern and the Southern, the Western, the Eastern (Cross River) and north-east. Prior to European colonization, the Igbo were not united into one nation, but lived in some autonomous local communities. However, by the middle of the 20th century, a sense of their ethnic identity had been strongly developed. So because of the predominance of the Igbo in the eastern territory of Nigeria, they attempted to withdraw from Nigeria as an independent state of Biafra. It happened in 1967. In the 21st century there were about 20 million of Igbo people.
Igbokwe got a position after the Indo-American, Bela Bajaria. She was a president until the dismissal last month. So on Friday, when the new Igbokwe’s position was announced, NBC Entertainment's president, Jennifer Salke, described the work of Pearlena on NBC as extremely wonderful and remarkable. And that it was a perfect choice for the top position in the studio.
‘A remarkable track record of Pearlena’s drama programming on NBC in the last few years was clear. So she was a perfect choice to rule the studio in its next period of growth. Pearlena’s leadership, taste and vision have created an impressive series of dramatic successes. For example: Blindspot, The Black List, Shades of Blue, Chicago Med, the new series of This Is Us and Timeless and Taken, which coincides with the return to the top rate among the network,’ said Jennifer Salke.
Pearlena Igbokwe’s Background
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A girl was born in the state of Lagos, in Nigeria in the middle of 1960s. She grew up in a very small village in the south-eastern territory of Nigeria, where she comes from. Pearlena survived the Biafran war. However, her small village was attacked by the bombers. They had to depend on the food that was sometimes airlifted to them. When she was six, she moved to her father to the United States.
She studied at Yale University in the period from 1983 - 1987, where she received a Bachelor of Arts (BA), the degree in English. She continued to attend Columbia Business School in the period from 1990 - 1992, where she received a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree in International Business and Marketing.
In 1987 Pearlena entered Prudential Financial as a representative of the group. She spent about three years with that company. She started her career in the entertainment business as a manager, Direct Marketing Response at Showtime Networks. She worked there between 1992 and 1994.
She got several posts at Showtime as: Director, Special Projects (from 1994 - 1996), the Director, the Original Programming, Vice President, again Original Programming (from 1999 - 2004), then Senior Vice President, again Original Programming (from 2005 to 2012) and, at last, Executive Vice President and Drama Development (from 2012 until 2016).
Prior to her new position, Pearlena Igbokwe was Executive Vice President and also Drama Programming for famous NBC Entertainment. It is noteworthy, that when Pearlena Igbokwe was working with Showtime, one of her major contributions was her participation in the development of the pilot episode and the control of each season of extremely famous ‘Dexter’. It is still the most popular show of Showtime.
Great changes happen to a person, who believes and works for it! Pearlena Igbokwe is a perfect example of this.
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