8:15am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Kevin Reilly Extends WarnerMedia Contract Through 2022
Kevin Reilly is staying put at WarnerMedia.
The executive has extended his contract with the media behemoth, through 2022, and has been handed oversight of all of WarnerMedia Entertainment's basic cable networks — including truTV. Chris Linn, who has served as president of niche comedy cabler truTV since 2013, has departed the company.
"Kevin has a long-standing reputation as an industry leader, and his accomplishments throughout his career — and particularly at this company — are remarkable," WarnerMedia Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt said Thursday in a statement. "He will continue to head up our important cable networks as well as oversee the robust content strategy for our new direct-to-consumer streaming service. I look forward to our continued collaboration as we move these valuable WarnerMedia properties forward under Kevin. At the same time, I thank Chris Linn for his leadership and dedication to rebranding and building truTV over the last several years."
In his new post as president of TBS, TNT and truTV and chief content officer at WarnerMedia's unnamed direct-to-consumer streaming platform, Reilly becomes the lone executive to have led two broadcast and three cable networks.
Reilly's deal extension comes nearly a year after AT&T formed WarnerMedia after regulators approved its $85 billion to $105 billion acquisition of HBO parent Time Warner. The combined company is undergoing a wave of changes after a D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the government failed to prove the transaction would harm the marketplace.
Reilly is an increasingly valuable executive within the company given his oversight of the streaming platform — a top priority — and suite of basic cable networks. Reilly joined the former Turner Entertainment back in 2014 and was charged with evolving comedy-focused cabler TBS and its drama counterpart TNT. He subsequently cleaned house at both networks and rebuilt their respective scripted rosters from the ground up, with series such as the critical favorite Search Party and the awards player The Alienist. Both networks continue to evolve ahead of the late 2019 beta launch of WarnerMedia's streaming platform.
Reilly on Wednesday used his time before Madison Avenue ad buyers at WarnerMedia's New York upfront presentation to announce that TBS would no longer exclusively focus on comedy, as TNT's long-gestating Snowpiercer adaptation will jump networks. TNT, meanwhile, will focus on sports — including a newly announced wrestling league and unscripted fare (like TBS comedic game show imports Drop the Mic and Joker's Wild).
During his four years with the former Turner, Reilly also launched Full Frontal With Samantha Bee and reduced commercial loads on originals. Before coming to Turner, Reilly served as president of entertainment at Fox (2007-2014), NBC (2004-2007), FX (2000-2003) and president of television at Brillstein-Grey (1994-2000).
Linn, meanwhile, replaced Marc Juris as head of truTV back in 2013. During his tenure, he was charged with rebranding the cabler — formerly Court TV — from unscripted series like Hardcore Pawn into a comedy-focused network.
TruTV's roster includes the critical favorite At Home With Amy Sedaris, fresh off a third-season renewal; the series Adam Ruins Everything and Impractical Jokers; and the scripted offerings I'm Sorry and Tacoma FD.
Linn becomes the latest Turner exec to leave WarnerMedia. Turner president David Levy also announced his departure from the newly merged company, which sees Greenblatt also take on oversight of TNT, TBS and TruTV, with those network execs also reporting to Greenblatt. (Reilly reports directly to Greenblatt.)