Legendary Hires Ex-Warner Bros. TV Chief Bruce Rosenblum

Bruce Rosenblum - H 2013
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Bruce Rosenblum - H 2013

Legendary Entertainment has hired former Warner Bros. TV chief Bruce Rosenblum as its president of television and digital media.

Rosenblum, who left Warner Bros. in March after 26 years running the studio's highly profitable TV unit, will run Legendary's TV business as it expands globally. In the new position, Rosenblum will be focused as much on traditional distribution platforms (broadcast, cable and premium cable) as on digital ones (Netflix, Amazon and YouTube), say sources familiar with his plans. He will work out of Legendary's Burbank office and will report directly to Legendary CEO Thomas Tull. 

“Bruce has an outstanding track record in the business, and he will be instantly additive to the team in our efforts to continue to make world-class content for consumers, however and wherever they access that content. We are pleased to have him join Legendary and look forward to working together to continue to build value for the company,” said Tull in a statement announcing the news Monday.

The move ends Hollywood speculation about Rosenblum's future. The highly respected executive was open about his disappointment when he was passed over for the CEO job at Warner Bros. that went to Kevin Tsujihara after a three-way executive "bake-off." Industry observers speculated that Rosenblum would land at another major network or TV studio. Tull first approached Rosenblum, whom he had known professionally for years, about the Legendary position in late January, say sources, when it became clear that he would likely move on. Not ready to commit at the time, Rosenblum is said to have had a series of other exploratory conversations about opportunities elsewhere over the next five months.
On the same early May day that Rosenblum approached Warner Bros. chairman Barry Meyer about his decision to move on, Tull reached out again. Almost immediately, the pair began discussing their theories on where the TV and digital businesses were headed, and quickly found that they saw eye-to-eye on the future of both as well as the advantages that they could have as a smaller, more entrepreneurial player in the evolving TV landscape. Those theoretical conversations quickly turned practical, says sources, with Rosenblum's tenure at Legendary effective immediately.
Among the first tasks for Rosenblum will be making key hires. Though the plan is to keep the TV division nimble, he will be casting about for a creative executive, among other positions. Also on the near-term horizon will be meeting agencies and potential buyers with a pitch that is still being formulated. In addition to original ideas, Rosenblum's not-yet-formed team will mine Legendary's vast library of film, comic books and games.
Rosenblum's appointment signals the well-capitalized production financier's commitment to television after becoming known primarily for films. Legendary, valued at $3 billion, dabbled briefly with TV via a development deal with Warner Bros. in 2011, but proactively ended the pact in the summer of 2012. Despite a strong brand name and an impressive library from which to pull, the division failed to produce any significant sales, with rumblings at the time that Legendary brass was hesitant about the financial model for traditional TV.
The company has been far more aggressive on the film side, where Warner Bros.-based Legendary has backed a series of hits including the Dark Knight films, the Hangover franchise and this weekend's Man of Steel. Legendary's Tull is currently deciding whether to re-up at Warners or take his company to another studio, with several studios (including Universal) courting him. Bringing Rosenblum, fresh from his Warner Bros. exit, on board likely will add to the speculation that Legendary will end its Warners relationship. But a Legendary rep declined to comment on its future.    
“This is an unparalleled opportunity to join Legendary’s team and launch an innovative multiplatform content production and distribution business uniquely focused on a highly sought-after target demographic,” said Rosenblum. “There has never been a better time to be producing and distributing television content. The Legendary consumer belongs to a connected, vibrant demographic, and the opportunity to develop content and strategies to reach this burgeoning audience is invigorating and exciting to me.”