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The appointment brings to a close the era of outgoing NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker and a regime that appeared to squeeze the most out of NBC’s cash flow while depleting its investment in programming. Zucker and Gaspin said they will leave after Comcast takes over.

Zucker represented an East Coast mentality influenced by majority owner GE, and that didn’t always mesh well with Hollywood. Gaspin, who like Zucker also worked on the “Today” show, made his way through the ranks after beginning his career at NBC in finance.

Burke’s selection of Greenblatt, a producer and a graduate in theater and arts administration, suggests an embrace of the creative community that wasn’t as warm under Zucker.

“My prediction is he will reach out and find people reaching back,” said Ted Chervin, the head of worldwide television at talent agency International Creative Management.

Since stepping down amicably from Showtime in July, Greenblatt jumped to the top of the list of people considered to run NBC.

Ratings tend to be cyclical between the networks, and any of them are “a couple of hits away from complete reversal,” said writer and creator Tim Kring, whose shows “Heroes” and “Crossing Jordan” each had multiple-year runs at NBC. Bringing in Greenblatt, he said, “sends a message to the creative community that they are hoping to attract creative talent to the network.”

That would be a major contrast to NBC’s message last year when, in moving Leno to prime time and reducing the number of scripted shows it buys, the network was essentially telling producers to shop their shows elsewhere.

But Greenblatt also comes into a difficult situation for any executive tasked with programming about 20 hours of shows every week. Broadcasters tend to launch dozens of new shows in September, not all of which succeed. That’s a trend which manifested itself again this year as NBC canceled “Undercovers” and “Outlaws” but renewed “30 Rock” for a sixth season, through 2012.

Rick Feldman, the president of the National Association of Television Program Executives, said Greenblatt’s background at Showtime, where shows are launched in periods other than the fall, could help dislodge the scheduling logjam. “Perhaps because of his experience, he could be one of the people that would be able to change the system.”

Fans of NBC are hoping he can guide it out of trouble.

“He’s the perfect mix of incredible creative instincts with total business acumen,” said David Janollari, the head of programming at MTV who helped run Greenblatt Janollari Studio, which created “Six Feet Under.” Janollari watched from afar as Greenblatt took Showtime, which lagged HBO, and turned it around in just a few years. NBC is “lucky to have him,” he said. “I really feel they have nowhere to go but up.”