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The executive has signed a new contract with new MGM parent Amazon and will continue to serve as president of the premium cable network currently known as Epix, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter. The cabler will be rebranded come January as MGM+.
MGM unscripted president Barry Poznick and COO Chris Brearton have also closed new deals with Amazon to remain involved with the storied studio. Brearton, whose title and responsibilities are expected to change, has been with MGM since early 2018 and currently oversees global business operations as well as growth initiatives. It’s unclear what his new title and role will be as those same sources say it won’t be as COO. Poznick, meanwhile, will continue to supervise unscripted programming for the cable network he joined 2016. Poznick previously reported to Mark Burnett. It’s unclear if MGM+ or Amazon execs will oversee the position as the retail giant/streamer’s Vernon Sanders has yet to outline how the studio will be integrated on the reality side. Sources say Poznick will be joined by co-head of unscripted at MGM.
Amazon declined comment.
Wright’s new deal arrives as Amazon has been busy integrating MGM into its current executive structure. After Amazon’s $8.5 billion MGM acquisition closed in February, motion picture group chairman Michael De Luca and motion picture group president Pam Abdy exited their roles in April and were followed this week by Burnett. Amazon also restructured MGM’s scripted TV ranks under head of television Vernon Sanders. Lindsay Sloane was promoted to head of MGM’s U.S. scripted TV fare including Netflix hit Wednesday, Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale and FX’s Fargo, among others, while Rola Bauer was upped to head of Pan-English scripted streaming TV, development and series. Sloane and Bauer report to Sanders and his direct reports at Amazon, Lauren Anderson, Laura Lancaster and Nick Pepper.
Under Wright, Epix has launched several scripted originals that hail from both MGM TV and outside studios. His roster includes Godfather of Harlem, Billy the Kid, sci-fi horror thriller From and dramas Rogue Heroes, Belgravia and the recently ordered Hotel Cocaine, from Godfather of Harlem’s Chris Brancato.
Former TNT/TBS chief and Amblin CEO Wright first joined Epix in late 2017 after the premium cable network became fully owned by MGM. It previously was a joint venture between Viacom and Lionsgate, with MGM acquiring full control as part of a $1 billion deal. He was hired at Epix by former MGM CEO Gary Barber. Barber was fired in March 2018 amid tension with MGM Global TV chief Mark Burnett, among other factors. Burnett, for his part, exited his role with MGM this week and will continue to produce hits including Survivor, The Voice and Shark Tank, among others.
With his new deal, Wright will return to focus exclusively on MGM+ and its streaming counterpart. Wright had spent much of the past two years serving in a dual role running Epix and its streamer as well as running MGM TV/United Artists following Steve Stark’s surprise departure in March 2021. Stark stunned the studio as well as industry observers with his abrupt departure following internal clashes with Burnett. In adding Stark’s duties, Wright extended his deal with MGM, meaning the former network and studio chief has done so twice in two years.
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