Stern had been at SyFy for 11 years, and oversaw hits like Battlestar Galactica, Defiance, Warehouse 13, and Face Off. While NBCU's official story is that Stern will "segue to producing," ratings had been slipping at SyFy in the past year, and as Burke has demonstrated in the last few months, there's no room for error in the company he's overseeing.
Stern will be replaced by USA's programming head, Bill McGoldrick, who can be credited with launching cable hits Suits, Covert Affairs, Necessary Roughness, and Burn Notice, among others.
Burke's body count keeps expanding: he pushed out Universal Pictures co-head Adam Fogelson earlier this fall, followed by NBCUniversal EVP Lauren Zalaznick (who had already been demoted by Burke in February). He then shook up the indie film community by firing James Schamus, who ran critical and commercial darling Focus Features for Universal. While some executives, like NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt have had their contracts renewed, it's only a matter of time before we find out who's next in Burke's bloodletting process.