12:00pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
UMC's Brett Dismuke Promoted to GM, Adds WE tv Oversight (Exclusive)
Brett Dismuke, who previously served as content chief at AMC's UMC, has been promoted to GM of both WE tv and the niche streaming service. The move is the latest to come in a year in which many traditional networks have lost individual executives in favor of consolidated responsibilities as conglomerates big and small reposition themselves for a streaming future and look to cut costs. As THR exclusively reported in October, Juris will leave WE tv this month following a years-long run.
Dismuke takes over WE tv as parent company AMC Networks looks to further align the basic cable network with UMC, the Urban Movie Channel streaming service that was launched in 2015 by the founder of BET. UMC and WE tv already share select programming, including Marriage Boot Camp: Hip Hop Edition, Bridezillas and Beyond the Pole. WE tv is the No. 1 cable network with Black women and adults on Thursdays and No. 1 on Fridays with women 18-49 and 25-54. The move will help bolster both WE tv's slate and UMC's offerings as the two outlets will now have a merged development team and potentially bigger budget to play with.
Dismuke will report to Miguel Penella, president of SVOD for AMC Networks. (Penella reports directly to AMC COO Ed Carroll.)
"We have aspirations to make UMC the leading streaming service in the world serving Black viewers with compelling and high-quality content,” Carroll said. “These are two successful businesses we believe will be even better positioned to serve viewers and take advantage of changing consumer behavior when working more closely together, under common leadership.”
Dismuke joined UMC as content chief in January 2019 and has overseen triple-digit growth for the platform on the back of programs including Double Cross, A House Divided, A Closer Look and Everything But a Man, among others. This is Dismuke's second technical stint at UMC. He previously was senior vp acquisitions of urban content for Image Entertainment, which was purchased by BET founder Robert L. Johnson in 2012. That company was a key component of RLJ Entertainment and paved the way for the launch of UMC.
“UMC is a unique and focused streaming service that has been growing rapidly on the strength of its original programming and relationships with an expanding universe of loyal subscribers,” Penella said. “Putting UMC and WE tv under a common leadership team, run by Brett, is a strategic move we believe will allow us to leverage strong programming franchises that exist on both platforms, build new ones and enhance the collaboration that is already happening between UMC and WE tv, with significant benefits to our company, our partners and, most of all, the viewers we serve and entertain.”
UMC is part of a streaming portfolio at AMC Networks that also includes Acorn, Shudder, Sundance Now, IFC Films Unlimited and AMC+. Combined, the streamers are on track to end the year with north of 5 million subscribers, pacing ahead of its year-ago projections.
“The strong growth we have achieved at UMC is based on our ability to dial into the lives our subscribers are living and deliver stories and content that they care about,” Dismuke said. “The same is true of WE tv, a network that has been successful by bringing fans real and relatable shows, stories and characters. Now we have the ability to further explore the synergies that exist between these two dynamic platforms and build on the success UMC and WE tv have already achieved, with great content at the core of everything we do. We have fans watching, now it’s time to surprise them in a great way and raise the stakes. I’m so excited for this opportunity and for the great things we can do together.”
Dismuke's leadership team includes Lauren Gellert, exec vp development and originals at WE tv; Nikki Love, vp development and originals at UMC; and Theresa Patiri, senior vp production and business affairs at WE tv. Sylvia George, the former GM of UMC, is taking on a new role within AMC Networks' marketing group where she will be charged with performance marketing across all of the company's streaming platforms. She had been GM of UMC since 2018 after previously serving as its CMO.