Netflix elevates Indian American Bela Bajaria as VP Global TV

Bela Bajaria
Bela Bajaria, Photo by: Chris Haston/NBC

Former Miss India Universe Bela Bajaria was behind shows like ‘Indian Matchmaking’ and ‘The Mindy Project.’

Netflix has elevated Bela Bajaria, the Indian American media leader behind the widely popular shows like “Indian Matchmaking“, “Sacred Games,” and “Never Have I,” as vice president for Global Television.

Making the announcement on Tuesday, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos said, “Since joining Netflix in 2016, Bela has demonstrated her versatility and creativity – building out our unscripted team and helping to take our local language slate, which is increasingly important for our members, to the next level.”

In her new position, Bajaria, 48, who had joined Netflix in 2016 as Vice President, Content Acquisition, will be taking over all the Netflix TV programming, including in English.

Before her promotion, Bajaria a former Miss India Universe, oversaw Netflix’s original content for India and elsewhere in Asia and across Europe, the Middle East, Turkey, Africa, and Latin America, according to Netflix.

“Bajaria has been a rising star in the four years she has been with Netflix, spending the last year expanding the company’s footprint outside of the US,” wrote Variety commenting on her elevation.

Bajaria, according to the entertainment magazine had explained just two months ago that “Netflix tends to swiftly shuffle its own organizational deck when it sees possible efficiencies.”

“Her own trajectory, shifting from unscripted to international to head of all TV in the span of four years, is a record of that,” it said.

“Positioning Bajaria as the leader of Netflix’s TV operations both domestically and abroad makes sense,” it said.

“She is a veteran of the traditional television industry, having spent a decade and a half at major broadcast network CBS, ultimately overseeing movies and miniseries, and leading cable programming for CBS’ studio,” Variety noted.

During her brief tenure at Universal TV studio, she brought shows like “Chicago Fire” and Mindy Kaling’s “The Mindy Project,” the first major show from a South Asian female creator and exec producer, it said.

“But the London-born South Asian American is also a citizen of the world,” Variety said noting “her time as head of local-language originals has been a rigorous year of beefing up Netflix’s global executive team and the platform’s position in the streaming market.”

The restructuring of the Netflix had “leapfrogged” Bajaria over Cindy Holland, said the Wall Street Journal describing the latter as “an architect of the streaming giant’s original-content strategy.”

Holland was instrumental in developing and greenlighting much of Netflix’s original content, including shows such as “House of Cards,” “Orange is the New Black” and “Stranger Things,” it noted.

“The departure of Holland is a stark reminder of the culture at Netflix, where even the most senior and acclaimed executives are often let go if management decides there is someone better suited for their job waiting in the wings,” the Journal said.

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