Cartoon Network President to Exit After 15-Year Run

Marketing chief Michael Ouweleen will take over in the interim for Christina Miller, who will stay on until year's end and help with the transition.
Mike Coppola/Getty Images
Christina Miller

Cartoon Network president Christina Miller is exiting the WarnerMedia-backed cabler.

Miller, who will stay on until year's end and help with the transition, will be replaced on an interim basis by marketing chief Michael Ouweleen. Miller announced her departure Wednesday with a memo (see below) sent to staffers. She had been with the WarnerMedia-backed company for 15 years and oversaw Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Boomerang and Turner Classic Movies.

Sources say WarnerMedia executives wanted Miller to stay and run the division, but she opted to depart the company and try something new. "This is not a decision I came to lightly," Miller said of her choice to depart WarnerMedia. "It's one of the hardest I've had to make in my career. Ultimately, it feels like the right time for me to leave and take a little time to think about what comes next, but I do so, feeling immensely proud of the work we've done together and so grateful for the experience."

Added Warner Bros. CEO Ann Sarnoff: "Christina has been a respected and impactful leader since she joined the company. We wish her the best of luck in the next chapter of her career, where I know she'll continue to enjoy great success."

During her 15 years with the company, Miller oversaw the No. 1 network among young adults — Adult Swim  — and built brands including Rick and Morty, Adventure Time and Steven Universe and global franchises including The Power Puff Girls and Ben 10, among others. Before being promoted to president of the four brands, she was GM of NBA Digital and president of Turner Sports marketing/strategy and programming. Miller first joined Turner (the former name of the company before it changed to WarnerMedia) in 2005 as vp Cartoon Network Enterprises, where she built the division's first global consumer products business. 

Miller's departure arrives as WarnerMedia's forthcoming streaming service, HBO Max, is making kids' programming a centerpiece of its platform. The service will share library rights to mega-hit Rick and Morty with Hulu and recently landed Sesame Street, which moved over from HBO's linear network. Kids' programming is currently among the genres in high demand as multiple new streaming services enter an already crowded market and look to make kids and families a top priority.
 
Miller becomes the latest high-ranking executive to depart WarnerMedia. With dwindling linear viewers amid the proliferation of cord-cutters and new streaming services, consolidation — including among the exec ranks — has become the norm. The company has recently seen Kevin Reilly add oversight of streamer HBO Max as well as niche comedy network TruTV as the latter's president, Chris Linn, departed. Cinemax president Kary Antholis also exited the HBO sibling in March, with HBO Films president Len Amato absorbing those responsibilities
 
Other legacy companies have also been impacted in the exec ranks. For its part, Viacom has been consolidating its entertainment brands for the past few years under CEO Bob Bakish. Longtime Viacom execs Debra Lee (BET), Kevin Kay (Paramount Network), Kent Alterman and, before him, Michele Ganeless (Comedy Central), Cyma Zarghami (Nickelodeon), Larry Jones (TV Land) and Brian Philips (CMT) have all been pushed out under Bakish's regime. More recently, Chris McCarthy doubled the number of networks he oversees after adding Paramount Network, Comedy Central, TV Land and Smithsonian Channel to his purview. McCarthy, who was promoted to run MTV in 2016, also runs VH1, CMT and Logo. 
 
Elsewhere, David Madden was pushed out in August as AMC was merged with BBC America under Sarah Barnett. NBCUniversal consolidated its Lifestyle Networks group with Bravo, Oxygen and E! all merging under Frances Berwick. (E! president Adam Stotsky departed and was not replaced.)
 
Here is Miller's memo to staff:
 
All-
 
I wanted to share with you some personal news. After much consideration and thought, I have made the difficult decision to leave the company at the end of the year. This is not a decision I came to lightly; it's one of the hardest I've had to make in my career. Ultimately, it feels like the right time for me to leave and take a little time to think about what comes next, but I do so, feeling immensely proud of the work we've done together and so grateful for the experience.
 
More than 14 years ago, what brought me to this company was the prospect of working on some of the world's most iconic brands — but what has kept me here all these years are the amazing, talented and all-around great people with whom I've had the pleasure of working. The laughing, grinding and executing of big ideas across all of our businesses has been what has set us apart, and the talent contained within the organization is truly awe-inspiring. Every single day, I have been motivated, challenged, educated, entertained and fulfilled by each of you, and my path has been made better and the successes richer because they were achieved together.
 
What stands out to me most about this experience is the countless opportunities I've been afforded, the support of what, at the time, seemed like crazy ideas that ultimately transformed our business, and the trust that was given to me every step of the way. I am grateful beyond measure to the entire executive leadership team past and present for investing in me and allowing me to manage my career path in ways I could have never expected. It has been the experience of a lifetime, and one I will never forget. I leave here considering myself incredibly lucky to have called this "work" for so long.
 
This is an exciting time for WarnerMedia and it is the start of a new chapter for the company. You all have waited incredibly patiently to begin that next phase and that time is coming. Though I'm not leaving just yet — I'll be working alongside the interim leadership through the end of the year — when I do, I will not only be watching from afar, but also rooting for you from whichever seat I'm in.
 
So, this isn't really goodbye; consider it instead my heartfelt thanks for the experience, and a toast to what's to come for us all.
 
All my very best,
Christina