Jerry Petry – 2/29/16

Jerry Petry, who recently retired as the Executive Vice President of NBCUniversal Television, is a media veteran with over 30 years of experience in the industry. He is from Long Island, NY and graduated from Villanova with a Business degree and NROTC scholarship. After serving in the Navy for four years in Georgia, he followed his family out to California, where his father had already been working for NBC as a producer. Through this connection, Jerry got his start in 1976 by applying his business background to NBC’s Purchasing department. He was later promoted to various financial and production roles in NBC Productions, NBC West Coast, NBC Enterprises, and finally NBCUniversal.
When Jerry spoke with the cohort at Oakwood, he emphasized his appreciation of his Villanova business background and his passion for the entertainment industry. Growing up around it all, Jerry expressed that it’s really all he has ever known. Even his daughter now writes and produces for Access Hollywood after graduating from USC with a Journalism degree.

After retiring from NBCUniversal, Jerry became the Chairman of the Television Academy for a few years, and encouraged us to check out the Academy’s website archives and internship programs ( He is also passionate about getting involved with nonprofit organizations.

When asked how he handles the financial aspect of telling people they are going over budget, he explained to us that it was typical of him to shadow news and production employees to better understand finance and their vision. Furthermore, Jerry advised that we keep developing relationships with coworkers and constantly network.

In regards to East Coast vs West Coast in this industry, Jerry believes that business is business no matter where you go. Also, there are just as many post-production opportunities in New York as there are in Los Angeles. In either case, people must be willing to start from the bottom and work their way up, and there are so many approaches that can be taken. Additionally, NBC’s corporate headquarters are in NY, as well as the hub of news, sports, and TV stations. In general, the industry you are interested in can determine whether the East or West Coast is best for you.

Jerry left us with the idea that persistence is a major key to success, and staying in touch and networking with people who share your interests is a great step to achieve your goals.