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Michael Wright has signed on for the top job at DreamWorks Studios as CEO, the studio confirmed on Thursday. The hire is effective January 3, 2015.
THR first reported on Wednesday that the exiting TNT, TBS and TCM programming president was being eyed by the studio. The hire signals that DreamWorks chairman and CEO Stacey Snider is poised to take a top creative job at Fox, a move also first reported by THR.
Wright, who worked at CBS before Turner and is viewed as a creative-friendly executive, will oversee DreamWorks’ film operations but not its television output. Amblin Television will remain a separate company run by co-presidents Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey.
Steven Spielberg, who has been looking for a replacement for Snider since February, was won over by Wright thanks to their collaborations on such series as the TNT sci-fi drama Falling Skies, which Amblin produces. Wright will report directly to Spielberg and work closely with president of production Holly Bario as well as producer Macosko Krieger and DreamWorks president and COO Jeff Small.
“I have had the pleasure of working alongside Michael for many years and have come to know him as a talented executive whose creative vision, leadership and passion are a perfect fit for our company,” Spielberg said. “He has a keen understanding of storytelling and how to deliver those stories in every shape and size, regardless of platform. I am delighted to welcome him to DreamWorks Studios.”
As for Snider, who will depart in January, Spielberg said she “has been an important part of my life for two decades and I want to acknowledge her many accomplishments at the company as well as her friendship and counsel which have been so important to me. I’d also like to express my appreciation for her guidance and support throughout the transition.”
Wright said he is embracing the move to the film side of the business during this “exceptional time of change in our industry with exciting new voices and storytelling platforms emerging all around us.”
On the film side, DreamWorks has had a spotty track record in recent years. Its The Hundred-Foot Journey has grossed $41.7 million since its release last month, but March’s Need for Speed stalled at the domestic box office, earning only $43.6 million in the U.S.
The news last week that Wright would exit his current post came amid major changes at the Turner entertainment group, which included Turner encouraging employees to take buyouts. Wright joined Turner in 2002, and has served as president and head of programming at the trio of nets since May 2012.
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