Warner Bros. Consolidates Its TV Studios

Peter Roth-Getty - H 2020
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Warner Bros. is consolidating its TV studios.

Warner Bros. Television and its subsidiary Warner Horizon Scripted TV will merge to form the newly created Warner Bros. TV Scripted Division. The Telepictures arm of the company is being folded into the larger company, with exec Donna Reider Linsk's position eventually eliminated as part of the restructuring. Telepictures is the division behind The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Warner Bros. Unscripted TV Division will combine physical production, business affairs and financial operations to service imprints Warner Horizon Unscripted, Telepictures and Shed Media.

Warner Bros. TV Group chairman Peter Roth will continue to oversee the supersized scripted studio, with WBTV presidents Susan Rovner and Brett Paul managing the day to day. Mike Darnell will continue to be charged with all things unscripted for the studio.  

Layoffs in areas with redundancies — including business affairs and finance — are expected to come as part of the consolidation in both the scripted and unscripted units. The news arrives hours after WarnerMedia started laying off an estimated 600 employees as part of a corporate restructuring that consolidates its streaming and linear cable network oversight under HBO programming president Casey Bloys. The move was kicked off Friday as WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar shocked the industry with his decision to remove Bob Greenblatt and Kevin Reilly in a bid to streamline the company's executive ranks. For its part, Disney on Monday consolidated ABC Signature with ABC Studios and formed ABC Signature Studios.

At WBTV, Rovner and Paul will continue to oversee all scripted programming, reporting to Roth. The duo was given day-to-day oversight of the studio back in May 2019. Exec vp drama development Clancy Collins White has now been promoted to a new role overseeing day to day of all scripted development, reporting to Rovner.

Leigh London Redman, who formerly served as exec vp scripted at Warner Horizon, has replaced White and will lead drama development. Adrienne Turner will continue to run comedy development. Odetta Watkins and Maddy Horne will continue to manage scripted series produced by the studio. Adam Glick, Sue Palladino and Jody Zucker will remain  in their respective roles overseeing business affairs, production and legal affairs, respectively.

On the unscripted side, Darnell continues as president of the division, reporting to Roth. Brooke Karzen will run development for Warner Horizon Unscripted TV. David McGuire will lead current and add oversight of Telepictures. Lisa Shannon and Dan Peirson will run programming and development for Shed. Kevin E. Fortson and Matt Matzkin will now take on new roles across unscripted for Warner Horizon TV, reporting to Darnell.

The studio consolidation comes as legacy media companies continue to make major executive suite changes amid a landscape that increasingly places streaming as the top priority. Last week, NBCUniversal outlined a similar strategy and folded all business operations under Frances Berwick, while a search continues for an exec to oversee entertainment programming across streamer Peacock as well as NBC and the company's suite of cable networks. ViacomCBS, for its part, has also consolidated its executive ranks in the past year-plus, with Chris McCarthy adding a growing number of networks to his purview. The novel coronavirus has forced many legacy media companies to tighten costs amid declining profits, with many insiders noting the restructurings should have taken place well before the pandemic created an economic reason to do so.