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AMC Networks said on Tuesday that president and CEO Josh Sapan will transition to the role of executive vice chairman, with the TV company naming former Showtime Networks CEO Matthew Blank interim CEO.
After a “successful 26-year tenure as president and chief executive officer Josh Sapan has notified the company of his desire to transition to executive vice chairman,” it said. “To help ensure an orderly transition,” picked Blank for the interim role “while the company conducts a search for a replacement.”
In his new role as executive vice chair, Sapan, 70, will “continue to assist in setting AMC Networks’ corporate and creative direction and work closely with the company’s leadership to support the overall advancement of the company, particularly as it continues to grow its targeted streaming business, led by its streaming offerings which include AMC+, Acorn TV, Shudder, Sundance Now and ALLBLK.”
Said AMC Networks chairman James Dolan: “Over his long career, Josh’s leadership ensured AMC Networks became a force in entertainment, with far-reaching influence throughout the industry, and home to some of the most successful and innovative shows in the history of television. We are grateful for his vision, creativity and management expertise.”
Blank joins AMC Networks after more than 40 years in the media industry. He currently serves as a director for Cumulus Media and CuriosityStream, but resigned from the board of directors for MSG Entertainment in accepting the interim CEO position at AMC.
As interim CEO, he will “utilize his expertise and work with AMC Networks’ leadership, including Mr. Sapan, to maximize the company’s streaming business, while building on its core assets,” the company said.
Dolan said AMC Networks was “delighted to have Matt help us through this transition,” adding: “His wealth of media experience will prove valuable as he works with Josh and the AMC Networks team to support the company’s continued success.”
At Showtime, Blank was instrumental in the launch of a standalone streaming service, as well as its early adoption of digital technologies. His tenure, including 20 years as chairman and CEO, “included numerous award-winning original programs, including Homeland, Ray Donovan, Shameless, Billions, Dexter, Weeds and The Circus,” AMC Networks highlighted. Blank also spent more than a decade at HBO, departing it as senior vp, consumer marketing.
Over more than three decades, Sapan “grew AMC Networks into a dynamic global entertainment company known for celebrated and groundbreaking original content, such as Mad Men, Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead,” the company said.
“This has been the greatest career I could have ever imagined, and I am enormously proud of all that we have accomplished,” Sapan said. “There has perhaps been no more exciting time for the company than right now and, as executive vice chairman, I look forward to continuing to work with the outstanding team at AMC Networks, as well as Matt, my great colleague and friend, to focus on how we maximize our unique content to accelerate our streaming goals.”
Sapan became president and CEO of AMC Networks in 1995, when the company was known as Rainbow Media and was a subsidiary of the Dolan family’s Cablevision Systems. “During his tenure, he reshaped the company, evolving it from a collection of U.S. cable channels showcasing classic movies to what is today a global entertainment company known for bold, prestige original drama, and more recently, for its portfolio of fast-growing targeted streaming services,” the company said.
In a regulatory filing on Tuesday, AMC Networks said that an amendment to Sapan’s employment contract provides that “in each of the 2023 and 2024 calendar years, the company shall acquire at least three films from those submitted by Mr. Sapan,” with the firm getting exclusive North American rights. “The price for each of such acquired films shall be $900,000, which amount will assist Mr. Sapan in financing and producing such films. Mr. Sapan may submit films for a higher price, but the company shall be under no obligation to acquire a film with a price in excess of $900,000.”
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