Brad Schwartz is leaving his post as president of Pop TV to head content at audio company Audible.
As chief content officer at Amazon-owned Audible, Schwartz will bring his two decades of television experience to the task of expanding the company’s focus from its roots in audiobooks into original audio storytelling.
“As Audible continues to expand its focus on premium audio storytelling and entertainment across all formats and genres, Brad’s highly successful track record, expertise and stellar relationships in the entertainment community will be integral to our aggressive content efforts and plans,” CEO Bob Carrigan, who has been leading the company since December, said in a statement. “Brad brings not only a wealth of experience but an unwavering focus on innovation, creativity and customer delight. I am confident Brad will spearhead the next chapter in Audible’s evolution as a global digital entertainment leader.”
Schwartz is departing Pop amid a period of transition. The ViacomCBS-owned network was hit with layoffs in February following its move under the purview of Chris McCarthy’s entertainment and youth brands group, part of a wave of consolidation that occurred across the company following the merger of Viacom and CBS.
Pop also said goodbye to cult hit Schitt’s Creek in April as the comedy closed out its six-season run. It also pared down its slate of originals when it canceled a trio of shows, including Anna Paquin starrer Flack, in March. Meanwhile, One Day at a Time, which Pop revived as its follow-up to Schitt’s Creek after the family comedy was canceled at Netflix, began airing a new season on the network in March.
Schwartz joined Pop in 2013 when it was still known as TV Guide Network. In 2014, he orchestrated a rebrand of the network into a home for primarily syndicated reruns of shows like ER and Dawson’s Creek. A year later, Schwartz introduced American audiences to Canadian import Schitt’s Creek as he looked to build an original programming brand at Pop, which is in around 70 million homes. As the series was coming to an end, Schwartz wrote for THR, “you can’t separate the story of Schitt’s Creek from the story of Pop TV.”
Prior to his role at Pop, Schwartz was senior vp programming and operations for Fuse. He also served as general manager of eight Canadian cable networks, including MTV Canada. The University of Pennsylvania alum began his career working for Lorne Michaels at Saturday Night Live.
Schwartz’s hiring signals Audible’s ambitions in the audio original space. The company, which got its start offering audiobooks, in recent years has responded to the growing demand for podcasts by expanding to offer new and exclusive programming to its members. Most recently, it has focused on releasing Audible Originals like Escape From Virtual Island, a comedy from Jon Lutz featuring voice work by Paul Rudd, Jack McBrayer and others, or self-help special The Decision from Kevin Hart.
“I have been an Audible member for years and I am enormously excited and inspired by its strategy for the future,” said Schwartz, who will start at the Newark, New Jersey, company on June 15. “Audible continues to forge new paths in bringing premium storytelling and original IP to the ever-expanding audio segment of our industry. Audible’s creative leadership, commitment to innovation, future-leaning focus, customer-centricity and ability to give artists of all kinds the opportunity to tell stories that matter are at the center of its success. With projects recently released or in the pipeline from Kevin Hart, Colin Kaepernick, Laura Dern, Jesse Eisenberg, Blake Griffin, Common, Meghan McCain and Neil Gaiman, I couldn’t think of a better time to join this senior management team and help drive our incredible growth ahead.”