African Personality Profile: Pearlena Igbokwe, Media Television Entertainment Personality
Pearlena Igbokwe was named President, Universal Television in June 2016. Most recently, she was Executive Vice President, Drama Development for NBC Entertainment.
Prior to that, Igbokwe was Executive Vice President, Drama Programming for NBC Entertainment.
Previously, Igbokwe was Executive Vice President, Drama Development, where she oversaw the development of all NBC dramas.
Igbokwe came to NBC from Showtime, where she worked closely with Robert Greenblatt, Chairman of NBC Entertainment, for seven years.
During her 20-year tenure at Showtime, Igbokwe was involved in developing the pilot and overseeing every season of "Dexter," Showtime's most popular hit ever. She also developed the pilot to the upcoming new Showtime series "Masters of Sex" starring Michael Sheen. She also supervised the Emmy Award-winning and critically-acclaimed original series "Nurse Jackie" and "The Big C," as well as shepherded "Tracey Ullman's State of the Union," "Damon Wayans' Underground," Kirstie Alley's "Fat Actress," and the television adaptation of the hit feature film "Barbershop." She was additionally instrumental in the five-season run of the hit Showtime series "Soul Food," a two-time NAACP Image Award winner for Best Drama Series.
Igbokwe also has mined success from a number of original movies she developed for Showtime, including the Humanitas Award-nominated "Jasper, Texas," starring Academy Award winners Jon Voight and Louis Gossett Jr.; the Emmy Award-nominated "Bojangles," starring the late Gregory Hines; and the Peabody Award-winning "Strange Justice," to name just a few.
She began her career at Showtime as Manager of Direct Response, Television Marketing, where she was responsible for all media planning and spending, agency creative development, video production and telemarketing for a $13 million general and Hispanic market acquisition campaign.
Igbokwe most recently was featured in industry trade magazine Multichannel News' 2010 "Wonder Women" issue and previously in Hollywood Reporter's "Top 35 under 35," as well as in Ebony and Black Enterprise's "Top 50 Showbiz Players."
- She was born in Lagos State, Nigeria in the mid 1960s.
- Pearlena grew up in a small village in the southeastern part of Nigeria, where she hails from.
- Pearlena lived through the Biafran war – her village was attacked by bomber planes and they depended on food that was airlifted to them.
- At the age of six, she moved to join her father in the United States of America.
- She attended Yale University between 1983 – 1987, where she acquired a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in English.
- She went on to attend the Columbia Business School between 1990 – 1992, where she got a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree in Marketing and International Business.
- Pearlena joined Prudential Financial as a Group Representative in 1987 and she spent three years with the company.
- She started off her career in the entertainment industry as the Manager, Direct Response Marketing at Showtime Networks between 1992 and 1994.
- She held several positions at Showtime including: Director, Special Projects (1994 – 1996), Director, Original Programming (1996 – 1999), Vice President, Original Programming (1999 – 2004), Senior Vice President, Original Programming (2005 – 2012) and Executive Vice President, Drama Development (2012 – 2016).
- Before her latest position, she was the Executive Vice President, Drama Programming for NBC Entertainment.