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Peter Roth is staying put at Warner Bros. TV.
Roth on Monday signed a contract extension at the studio that includes a promotion to the newly created position of chairman of the Warner Bros. Television Group, reporting to Warner Bros. chair and CEO Ann Sarnoff. The extension will continue Roth’s 21-year tenure at the studio. He most recently served as president and chief content officer of WBTVG, a role he held since 2013.
The promotion and deal extension puts to rest, at least temporarily, rumors that Roth’s tenure at the indie studio would be coming to an end as the media giant continues to restructure its executive ranks to better position itself for the streaming era. Warner Media’s own streaming platform, HBO Max, is set to launch in May and, ahead of its debut, has seen a number of executives on the cable side depart as Kevin Reilly’s oversight expands to include HBO Max, TNT, TBS and TruTV, among others. The new title also puts Roth on the same footing as Robert Greenblatt, who serves as chairman of Warner Media Entertainment and direct-to-consumer. The CW’s Mark Pedowitz, it’s also worth noting, was promoted in January to chairman and CEO of the network (which is a joint venture between Warner Media and CBS Corp.) as part of his own deal extension.
“Across the industry, Peter has the well-deserved reputation as a legend, and I have long been an admirer of his creative insight, deep relationships and unmatched passion for — and love of — all the people behind and in front of the camera, at the networks, and across the studio who make Warner Bros. the most prolific TV producer in Hollywood,” Sarnoff said in a statement. “It’s fitting to recognize his many contributions to the company, and we’re grateful he will continue to lead our television production business as we expand our output to match the increased demand for programming by traditional and new outlets, including our own HBO Max.”
Roth will continue to lead all of WBTVG’s divisions: Warner Bros. TV, Warner Horizon’s scripted and unscripted units, Warner Bros. Animation, Telepictures, Shed Media and Blue Ribbon Content. He ceded the day-to-day running of WBTV last year to Susan Rovner and Brett Paul, who have oversight of the 60-plus scripted series produced by the studio, the majority of which are for cable and streaming outlets. Roth will also continue to work closely with Jeffrey R. Schlesinger, president of Warner Bros. Worldwide Television Distribution, who will continue to report to Sarnoff.
Rovner and Paul in May were given daily oversight of some of the studio’s most important deals with producers, including Chuck Lorre (The Big Bang Theory, Mom), the prolific Greg Berlanti (who alone is behind more than 20 series for the studio), Ava DuVernay, the recently signed Mindy Kaling and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (the Riverdale franchise), among others.
Roth’s current position with the studio echoes that of former Warner Bros. TV Group president Bruce Rosenblum, whom Roth replaced in the role in 2013. His step back from the day-to-day operations came soon after the series finale of the megahit The Big Bang Theory (which subsequently sold to WarnerMedia’s HBO Max in a massive streaming deal) and after an upfront season that saw the studio’s broadcast sales slide from nine in 2018 to five amid a growing Disney that has now absorbed 20th Century Fox TV and as ownership remains increasingly important across the industry.
Roth joined Warner Bros. TV in 1999 from Fox, where he had served as president of Fox Entertainment and previously president of production at what was then known as Twentieth Network Television. He’s also held positions at Stephen J. Cannell Productions and at ABC.
Lesley Goldberg contributed to this report.
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