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People To Meet: NBCU’s Martin Irusta

Universal Networks International, the global pay TV channels arm of the Hollywood studio, has been ramping up its strategy of making original content for the past twelve months with series including Stephen King’s Haven, cop drama Rookie Blue and legal comedy Fairly Legal. Martin Irusta, senior VP, global programming and acquisitions, has been one of the architects of this plan.

Irusta, who reports to Universal Networks president Roma Khanna, is heading to Miami to talk original content as well as acquisitions.

He is keen to talk to international producers about original productions for its 71 worldwide channels across its five brands: SyFy Universal, Diva Universal, 13th Street Universal, Universal Channel and Studio Universal.

“You never know where great content is going to come from so that’s why I’m going to NATPE. I’ll be meeting with a lot of producers,” he says.

The company will be launching two more shows in 2011 including a supernatural sci-fi series and a crime procedural for 13th Street.

Irusta is also looking to bulk up the NBCU channels’ schedules with US and international acquisitions. He recently acquired CBS Studios’ Hawaii Five-O for its central and eastern European channels. “I’m looking for high end glossy network series,” he says. “A market is needed at the start of the year, especially because of all of the midseason shows.”