1:34pm PT by Kim Masters
WarnerMedia Eyes Bob Greenblatt for Major New Role
With AT&T having cleared the last major hurdle in its acquisition of Time Warner, sources believe former NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt may be poised to take a major role at WarnerMedia, possibly as part of a broader shake-up at the company.
The parameters of such a job remain unclear, but AT&T is believed to be planning changes in light of Tuesday’s D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that the government had failed to prove the transaction valued between $85 billion and $105 billion would harm the marketplace.
The decision gives the nation's largest telecom control over CNN, TBS and TNT as well as Warner Bros. and HBO. It eliminates a "firewall" over the management of Turner Broadcasting that had been established to make it easier to unwind the merger should the appellate court issue a ruling averse to the deal.
Now AT&T is free to involve itself in decisions including staffing at its newly acquired cable television networks. Some in the industry believed AT&T was reticent about making other potential staffing changes at WarnerMedia before the appeals court ruled.
WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey is said to have reached out to Greenblatt in recent weeks to gauge his interest in taking on a major role at the content division once the deal was approved.
Reps for Greenblatt and WarnerMedia declined to comment.
Greenblatt, 58, has been the subject of much industry speculation following his September departure from NBC. Rumors have been flying about him possibly joining Apple, CBS or Starz in a top job. Talks with WarnerMedia could break down, sources say, and another suitor is still a possibility.
The move would be a sizable one for Greenblatt, who spent the past seven years at NBC. In that time, he turned around the broadcast network, shepherding it to a near-uncontested No. 1 in ratings among the key 18-49 demographic, thanks to a mix of high- and low-brow franchises including The Voice, This Is Us, The Good Place and a suite of Dick Wolf-produced dramas.
Greenblatt’s personal touches at the network also included the revival of the live musical event, with stagings of The Sound of Music and Jesus Christ Superstar proving big successes. In fact, in the half year since he stepped down, Greenblatt is said to still turn up at NBC, where he was attached to the live musical Hair until his successors Paul Telegdy and George Cheeks decided to yank it from the spring schedule earlier this month.
Prior to NBC, Greenblatt did a lengthy stint at premium cabler Showtime, then the chief rival to HBO. While there, he was responsible for ushering in a new era of original programming, with a slate of edgier hits including Weeds, Nurse Jackie and Dexter. Before that, Greenblatt spent time as a producer responsible for series including HBO's Six Feet Under.
Throughout his career, Greenblatt has remained tethered to Broadway, too, where he has produced such shows as 9 to 5 and A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.
Lacey Rose contributed to this report.