Kevin Reilly Announces Key Appointments, Splits TNT and TBS Programming Teams
Producer Sarah Aubrey has been hired by Turner as TNT's new executive vp of original programming, and exec Brett Weitz is taking on the same role at TBS.
Turner Entertainment is taking big steps in a new direction with Kevin Reilly. Under the new TNT and TBS president and chief creative officer of the cable group, leadership teams of TNT and TBS are being separated and restructured, with Reilly's first big executive hires revealed.
Reilly will preside over both teams, with film producer Sarah Aubrey coming on board as TNT's new executive vp of original programming and exec Brett Weitz taking on the same role at TBS. Sandra Dewey was promoted to president of TNT and TBS Productions and business affairs. The latter's move signals a clear desire for both of the Turner networks to own more of their original content.
"Over the next couple of years, we will continue to sharpen and evolve our brands by doubling down on original programming and being tenacious about our networks' value proposition," said Reilly. "These leadership appointments are the important first step in that direction. With Sandra overseeing business affairs and our growing slate of in-house productions, Sarah joining us to make TNT originals even more distinct and valuable and Brett focusing on both growing and further defining TBS originals, we have a great team of stewards to shepherd this transformation."
Reilly's TV taste might be most evidenced by Aubrey's hire. The Peter Berg collaborator, whose been at production company Film 44 for the last decade, has had her hand in such critical darlings as Friday Night Lights and HBO's The Leftovers. "I have personally known and worked with Sarah since we collaborated on Friday Night Lights at NBC almost nine years ago," said Reilly. "Sarah has that rare instinct with material and talent alike and will be a friend to the creative community. I cannot imagine a better person to bring a fresh new perspective to TNT."
Shortly after taking the job in December, Reilly told The Hollywood Reporter that adjusting the content on both of the networks would be a "slow turning of the ship." "I'm not going to come in and pull the rug out of anything," he said. "We have a lot of shows that are actually performing."
Weitz's move is an internal one, previously serving as senior vice president of development at both TBS and TNT. Series under his purvey have included TNT flagship Rizzoli & Isles and sci-fi drama Falling Skies. "I knew of Brett's excellent reputation in the creative community prior to joining the company, and it didn't take long for me to validate that first hand," said Reilly. "The new direction for TBS will be an exciting undertaking. The point of view of the network will be sharpened, and it will take a keen eye and seasoned hand to hit the target. I am very happy we have that in Brett to step up and fulfill that charter."
As for Dewey, she will continue to head business affairs across the portfolio — not just at TNT and TBS, but Cartoon Network, Tru TV and Turner Classic Movies as well. Sitting her at the top of TNT and TBS Productions is a move to push the networks further into owning their own original series. "I can't imagine a leadership team without Sandra," added Reilly. "She has a well-deserved reputation as a skilled negotiator with incredible business instincts who is both tough and fair. She will be a key architect going forward as producing more of our own content becomes a key element in our networks' business model."