- WarnerMedia has shaken up its power structure to compete with streaming services like Netflix.
- Now, the owner of HBO and Warner Bros. is set to merge with unscripted content leader Discovery.
- Insider identified the 19 top execs running WarnerMedia’s studios and networks, ahead of the merger.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
This story was originally published on April 29, and was updated with new reporting after WarnerMedia and Discovery announced plans to merge.
Warner Bros. leadership looks very different today than it did one year ago.
The Hollywood studio recently transformed to better compete with streaming services like Netflix, including bringing in new management and collapsing some of the walls between divisions of the legacy business.
As part of a massive executive overhaul at parent company WarnerMedia, CEO Jason Kilar recombined the company’s studios and networks groups in 2020, which brought brands like HBO, Warner Bros., DC Comics, and Cartoon Network under one roof. The shift also served to rally the media company around its now one-year-old streaming service HBO Max.
WarnerMedia is now poised for another shakeup, with AT&T spinning off the entertainment company into a merger with Discovery. Discovery CEO David Zaslav will lead the combined company and Kilar is rumored to be looking to exit.
But WarnerMedia’s content execs may be spared the brunt of any leadership changes that happen during the merger.
AT&T management touted WarnerMedia and Discovery’s complementary content assets as a prime reason for the deal. And there’s little overlap between the WarnerMedia content execs who are developing scripted movies and series for HBO and Warner Bros., and those at Discovery developing home renovation, cooking, and other unscripted fare for the likes of HGTV and Food Network, as Insider previously reported.
With the dust settled on Kilar’s reorg, and the combination with Discovery coming up, we took a close look at how the leadership structure in the content portion of the company has shaped up.
The new faces behind WarnerMedia’s “Studios and Networks group” include former BBC exec Ann Sarnoff, who runs the unit; Casey Bloys, who rose through the HBO ranks to become the content chief for both HBO and HBO Max; and Channing Dungey, a Netflix and ABC alum who leads WarnerMedia’s TV studio.
Sarnoff also appointed company veterans like Toby Emmerich to key positions. Emmerich, who Zaslav talked up in his comments following the deal announcement, is in charge of the movie studio.
Sarnoff’s top deputies in the studios and networks group are (in alphabetical order):
- Tom Ascheim, president, Global Kids, Young Adults, and Classics, who was formerly president of Disney’s young-adult network Freeform.
- Casey Bloys, chief content officer, HBO and HBO Max, who was previously a programming exec at HBO during an era that included hits like “Game of Thrones,” “Veep,” and “Westworld.”
- Channing Dungey, chairman, Warner Bros. TV Group, who was a top content exec at Netflix and ABC before joining WarnerMedia to run its TV studio. She replaced retired exec Peter Roth in the role.
- Toby Emmerich, chairman, Warner Bros. Pictures Group, who has headed Warner Bros. film studios since 2017 and been with the company since 1992.
- David Haddad, president, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, who oversees Warner Bros. video-game franchises tied to brands like Harry Potter and Mortal Kombat.
- Liz Huszarik, chief research officer and EVP, global research and insights, who has been with the company in various research roles since the early 1990s.
- Jay Levine, chief strategy officer and EVP, business operations, a veteran of the company who stepped into his current role in late 2020.
- Pam Lifford, president, Global Brands, Franchises, and Experiences, who is responsible for growing the fan bases for WarnerMedia’s various franchises through themed events, experiences, and other touchpoints.
- Brett Weitz, general manager of TNT, TBS, and TruTV, a longtime company executive who is now responsible for WarnerMedia’s three entertainment TV networks.
Bloys, the chief content officer for HBO and HBO Max, has also named his lieutenants, who include a mix of seasoned HBO alum and execs from other divisions of the company:
- Nancy Abraham, EVP, HBO Documentaries and Family, who joined the documentary division in 1995 and rose to run the unit alongside Lisa Heller.
- Sarah Aubrey, head, original content, HBO Max, a former TNT exec who, in her current role, has helped develop early successes for HBO Max like “The Flight Attendant.”
- Meredith Gertler, EVP, content strategy and planning, HBO and HBO Max, who held various positions at HBO before taking on her expanded mandate.
- Amy Gravitt, EVP, HBO programming, who has overseen HBO comedies such as “Insecure,” “The Righteous Gemstones,” and “A Black Lady Sketch Show.”
- Lisa Heller, EVP, HBO Documentaries and Family, who joined the documentary unit in 2000 and now runs it alongside Abraham.
- Francesca Orsi, EVP, HBO programming, who has overseen such HBO dramas as “Big Little Lies” and “The Leftovers.”
- Michael Quigley, EVP and head, content acquisition, who came from the Turner side of the business.
- Nina Rosenstein, EVP, HBO programming, who has overseen HBO series including “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” and various comedy specials.
- Glenn Whitehead, president of business affairs and production at HBO and HBO Max, a longtime HBO exec who was instrumental to coproduction and distribution deals that helped the network land larger scale and international projects like “Chernobyl.”
The studios and networks group is also supported by an administrative team that includes:
- Johanna Fuentes, head of communications for studios and networks, who joined WarnerMedia from Showtime in May.
- Ben Hill, head of human resources for studios and networks, who was an HR exec at Turner before taking on the expanded role.
- Jassica Holscott, head of finance for studios and networks, who was previously HBO’s financial chief.
- John Rogovin, head of legal for studios and networks, who has been with the studio for more than a decade, and led the legal strategy related to properties including “Superman,” “The Hobbit,” “The Lord of the Rings.”
For more on WarnerMedia’s power structure, explore our interactive org chart:
- We mapped out the 111 most powerful people at WarnerMedia after CEO Jason Kilar’s leadership shake-up. Here’s our exclusive org chart.
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