Disney, NBCU, Turner, CBS and More Join Vizio-Led Addressable TV Advertising Consortium

Read on: Variety.

Can the TV biz finally get its act together to target ads to viewers the way internet companies have done for years? A new consortium, led by TV manufacturer Vizio, is promising to assemble the right technology platform and media partners to make addre…

Vivendi’s ‘Guess My Age’ Breaks Into Latin America With Turner’s Chilevision (EXCLUSIVE)

Read on: Variety.

Vivendi’s international unscripted unit has sealed its first Latin American deal for the popular “Guess My Age” format. Vivendi Entertainment has inked an agreement with Turner’s Chilean network Chilevision, which has ordered a 40-episode local version…

Bleacher Report Names Digital And Studio Vet Sam Toles As Chief Content Officer

Read on: Deadline.

Bleacher Report, the digital sports brand under Turner’s umbrella at WarnerMedia, has hired movie studio and digital media veteran Sam Toles as Chief Content Officer.
The New York-based executive will report to Howard Mittman, who was named CEO o…

Bob Greenblatt Named WarnerMedia Entertainment Chairman; Jeff Zucker and Kevin Tsujihara Expand Roles

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Six months after leaving NBC, Bob Greenblatt has resurfaced as chairman of WarnerMedia’s entertainment and direct-to-consumer businesses. That’s a fancy way of saying he’ll oversee HBO, Turner and the upcoming WarnerMedia streaming service.

Additionally, CNN’s Jeff Zucker and Warner Bros. chairman Kevin Tsujihara are expanding their roles, WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey said on Monday. The additions in both personnel and responsibilities are part of an overall AT&T shakeup of its entertainment assets.

“We have done an amazing job establishing our brands as leaders in the hearts and minds of consumers,” Stankey said. “Adding Bob Greenblatt to the WarnerMedia family and expanding the leadership scope and responsibilities of Jeff, Kevin and Gerhard — who collectively have more than 80 years of global media experience and success — gives us the right management team to strategically position our leading portfolio of brands, world-class talent and rich library of intellectual property for future growth.”

Also Read: Hollywood Worries: Will HBO Still Be the Home of Prestige Television After Richard Plepler’s Departure?

“I’m honored to be joining WarnerMedia during such an exciting time for the company and the industry as a whole, and I look forward to working alongside the many talented executives and team members across the company,” Greenblatt said. “WarnerMedia is home to some of the world’s most innovative, creative and successful brands and we’re in a unique position to foster even deeper connections with consumers. And it goes without saying I will always have a soft spot in my heart for HBO going back to the rewarding experience I had producing Alan Ball’s ‘Six Feet Under.’”

Adding sports to his purview, Zucker becomes chairman of WarnerMedia news and sports while maintaining his title of president at CNN. Tsujihara will continue on as chairman and CEO of Warner Bros., and will also now oversee a new global kids and young adults business.

Finally, Gerhard Zeiler is switching roles from his job as president of Turner International to become the chief revenue officer of WarnerMedia. Zeiler will oversee all the ad sales and affiliates.

Also Read: David Levy Steps Down From Turner: Read His Internal Memo Here

Below are detailed bullet points on how the shakeup will impact various departments. It’s a pretty handy cheat sheet for a bunch of moving parts.

  • WarnerMedia Entertainment led by Bob Greenblatt will include HBO, the linear cable networks
    TNT, TBS and truTV, and the Direct-to-Consumer business. This change will provide the
    company with the agility and flexibility needed to build WarnerMedia’s brands across a variety of
    evolving distribution models with a more coordinated approach to the company’s original
  • WarnerMedia News & Sports will include CNN Worldwide (CNN, CNN.com, CNN
    International, CNN en Español, HLN, Great Big Story), Turner Sports, Bleacher Report and the
    AT&T Regional Sports Networks. Jeff Zucker will continue to lead CNN and now run this
    expanded organization to capitalize on the importance of live news and sports content, as well as
    helping to build on the strengths of the company’s two industry-leading digital properties –
    CNN.com and Bleacher Report — to benefit consumers and advertisers in their respective market
  • Warner Bros.’ film, television, and games operations will add a new Global Kids & Young
    Adults business that brings together the family, kids and animation efforts from across
    WarnerMedia, including Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and Boomerang. Additionally, Otter
    Media, Turner Classic Movies and all activities around licensed consumer products development
    for WarnerMedia properties will also reside here. Kevin Tsujihara will spearhead these efforts
    and continue to lead Warner Bros. which, under his direction, has become the only studio with
    premiere positions in television, film and videogames.
  • The company will consolidate all WarnerMedia Affiliates and Advertising Sales Groups under
    one unified structure led by Gerhard Zeiler. He will utilize his broad experience in both public
    and commercial broadcasting sectors across multiple geographies to unite all of the WarnerMedia
    network affiliate sales and advertising sales businesses to help benefit advertisers, distributors,
    partners and the company.

Also Read: With Exit of HBO and Turner Chiefs, AT&T Tries to Fix What Ain’t Broken (Analysis)

Word of Greenblatt’s new role with WarnerMedia began trickling out last week, which coincided with the departures of HBO’s longtime CEO Richard Plepler and Turner president David Levy. Also last week, an appeals court blocked the Justice Department’s challenge to AT&T’s merger with Time Warner. AT&T closed the merger in June, only days after it received approval from U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon on the $85.4 billion deal. At the time, Leon said he didn’t believe an appeal would be successful.

Turner still has Kevin Reilly steering its programming side, including WarnerMedia’s upcoming streaming service, but it is HBO that will find itself in an unfamiliar position: Having to be more closely aligned under a large corporate umbrella.

Though HBO has been owned by Time Warner for years, Plepler experienced a huge level of autonomy under former Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes, WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey signaled last year that things would be different under the new owners. Greenblatt, as a former entertainment of HBO rival Showtime, would’ve been Plepler’s boss.

On the Turner side, Greenblatt and Zucker face a key sports rights deal, just as their main negotiator is exiting.

Levy’s biggest contribution for Turner was on the sports side, where he negotiated media rights deals with the NBA and MLB, as well as its very successful partnership with CBS Sports for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. The company’s NBA deal doesn’t expire until 2025 and its March Madness deal goes until 2032, but its MLB deal is up in 2021.

Right around now is the time that Turner and MLB would typically enter in renewal negotiations, which usually start two years out from the expiration. Turner renewed its last deal with the NBA in 2014, when that prior deal was set to expire in 2016. Last year, Fox renewed its own deal with the MLB through 2028.

Greenblatt stepped down from his post at NBC in late September, with George Cheeks and Paul Telegdy taking over.

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Turner Network Executives Urged To Stay The Course After Levy And Plepler News

Read on: Deadline.

With change rippling through WarnerMedia, symbolized by the twin exits of Turner president David Levy and HBO chief Richard Plepler, teams of senior executives are being advised to stay on task and not panic as the organization is restructured.

David Levy Bids Farewell To Turner Troops: “I Have Been Very Fortunate”

Read on: Deadline.

David Levy, who is leaving his post as president of Turner after a nearly 33-year run at the company, sent a farewell memo this morning that brims with the executive’s trademark sales-and-sports brio.
He recalled joining the company in 1986 as a …

David Levy Steps Down From Turner: Read His Internal Memo Here

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Turner President David Levy is leaving the company he’s worked at for 32 years and run for six. On Friday, Levy bid farewell to his staff.

“I am ready for a professional change,” Levy wrote in an email obtained by TheWrap.

“I have been very fortunate to work here, surrounded by so many gifted people,” he penned. “Along the way, I have made some lasting friendships with so many of you. To me, what makes Turner special are the people, past and present, who have shaped our culture. It’s what sets this company apart.”

Also Read: With Exit of HBO and Turner Chiefs, AT&T Tries to Fix What Ain’t Broken (Analysis)

Though Levy did not mention what he will do next, the now-former overseer of TBS, TNT, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Boomerang, truTV and Turner Classic Movies (TCM) said his “next few months will be filled with many new ‘firsts’ and experiences.”

Levy’s exit, which was first reported on Thursday, comes immediately after news that HBO CEO Richard Plepler would also be leaving his post. Turner and HBO’s shared parent Time Warner now exists under AT&T’s mighty banner, and that company’s chairman Randall Stephenson is placing his acquisition in the hands of John Stankey.

The Levy and Plepler departures came a day after the Wall Street Journal reported that former NBC entertainment president Bob Greenblatt was in talks with AT&T’s newly rebranded entertainment and content company WarnerMedia to head up a combined HBO and Turner under Stankey. The combined organization would reduce redundancies.

Also Read: Richard Plepler to Exit as HBO Chairman and CEO

Read Levy’s full internal memo below.

Hello everyone,

I have some news to share regarding an important career decision. When you spend nearly your entire professional career at one company, a decision like this does not come easy. I have spent a considerable amount of time during the past few months discussing the future landscape and vision of the company with John Stankey and the senior leadership team. After much consideration and more than 32 years at Turner, the past six years as the President of this great company, I have decided the time is right to leave my role.

I am ready for a professional change. It is hard to believe but I joined Turner back in 1986 and I have spent more than half my life at this great company (ok, contemplate that for a moment). Time moves quickly when you are having fun and doing work you truly enjoy!

It’s not easy to summarize everything in one note to truly express my gratitude and appreciation. There are too many great memories and experiences.

I walked into Turner when I was just 24 and took a role as an Account Executive. It was an exciting time to be part of an organization led by Ted Turner – one of the true pioneers and visionaries. I still can recall when Ted would come into our New York City offices and look to join us on a sales call. We would jump on a subway – no UBER or LYFT at that time – and the other riders would turn in amazement seeing Ted riding alongside them. And once we arrived at the client’s office no one was better at selling the vision of Turner and the burgeoning cable industry than him. He truly was the greatest closer!!

It was that maverick spirit Ted instilled during the early years of our company that motivated me to move forward and start the first sports sales team in 1990.

I’ve had the good fortune to work on so many different aspects of our business that took me around the world. Each stop along the way was filled with new challenges and an opportunity to learn something different. As each of you continue to manage your own careers, I encourage you to never stop challenging yourself to do more and always be willing to learn something new.

With the support of so many talented people, we have continually innovated and achieved success in entertainment, kids, sports, sales and distribution. Together we launched businesses around the globe; produced entertaining original programming throughout our portfolio; developed new, transformational, partnerships with the NCAA for ‘March Madness’ and MLB post season; expanded our relationship with the NBA to include a joint partnership managing the league’s digital portfolio; developed new distribution models for innovative consumer driven content across multiple platforms and, at the same time, continued to grow our relationships with our traditional distribution partners; we took initial steps in the direct-to-consumer space by launching new entertainment, kids and sports platforms; acquired new properties such as Bleacher Report and iStream Planet that will be key foundational business units moving forward; continued to transform and evolve in ad sales – from positioning our networks as “broadcast replacement” to showcasing the Turner Upfront during the “broadcast” week in May. Today, we are a leader in audience based and addressable advertising.

That’s just a small sampling of the amazing work and I feel a great sense of pride in what we have accomplished together. I also want to acknowledge and thank my terrific leadership team for their many talents and vision they’ve continually displayed overseeing some of the best brands in media.

As I reflect on my Turner career, I have been very fortunate to work here, surrounded by so many gifted people. Along the way, I have made some lasting friendships with so many of you. To me, what makes Turner special are the people, past and present, who have shaped our culture. It’s what sets this company apart.

The next few months will be filled with many new ‘firsts’ and experiences. I am confident that you all will show that true maverick spirit this company was founded on to march forward and continue the standard of excellence we have built and enjoyed.

It’s been an amazing journey to work with all of you. We’ve shared great times together, endured more than our fair share of challenges and continually set a high-standard for results, creativity and innovation. Thank you for the role you have played in our successes. It’s truly been a rewarding and humbling experience to work alongside you.

Turner has been a significant part of my life and I will watch from the sidelines as this company continues to produce more amazing moments.

My heartfelt thanks to everyone.


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HBO and Turner Together: The Strategy Behind WarnerMedia’s Anticipated Bob Greenblatt Hire

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Last July at an HBO town hall meeting, the pay cabler’s CEO, Richard Plepler, asked newly minted WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey to map out his plans. To the chagrin of Plepler, Stankey didn’t mince words. “It’s going to be a tough year … you …

Turner Boss David Levy Plans Exit As Part Of WarnerMedia Reorganization, Ending Tenure Marked By Sports Wins

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The other shoe has dropped at WarnerMedia, with word emerging that Turner chief David Levy will exit, on the same day that HBO chief Richard Plepler also announced his exit.
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Turner Boss Kevin Reilly Doesn’t Want WarnerMedia to Share ‘Friends’ With Netflix

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Will “Friends” remain on Netflix after 2019? Probably not, if Turner chief Kevin Reilly has anything to say about it.

When asked by a reporter during the Television Critics Association press tour if the plan is to pull Ross, Rachel, Chandler, Monica, Joey and Phoebe “completely off of” the rival streamer and put it exclusively on the upcoming WarnerMedia SVOD product, or if he’s open to a “multi-share, multi-window thing,” he said he’d rather not let Netflix have it too — in a very roundabout way.

“I think you can expect that, uh, kind of the crown jewels of Warner will ultimately end up on the service,” Reilly said. “So pulling it, pulling it away [sic] — but it certainly is something that we’re going to be looking to do. And I think for the most part sharing destination assets like that, it is not a good model to share them. My belief is that they should be exclusive to the service.”

Also Read: ‘Friends’ Likely to Stream on WarnerMedia’s New Service Too

Last Dec. 3 was a rollercoaster ride for “Friends” fans, as it initially appeared that the classic NBC comedy would be removed from Netflix on Jan. 1. Later that same day, the streaming giant quelled subscribers’ fears, announcing that “Friends” will stick around through 2019.

Just one day later, AT&T chief Randall Stephenson said the upcoming WarnerMedia SVOD product would also likely house the must-see TV show, during the 46th Annual UBS Global Media and Communications Conference. But he didn’t say anything about that platform being the only one to house it.

“That’s a Warner Bros. property,” the AT&T Chairman and CEO said at the time. “Well, [Netflix] re-signed it on a non-exclusive basis. What does that mean? That means ‘Friends’ could go on to our platform as well.”

Also Read: ‘Pivot!’ ‘Friends’ to Remain on Netflix Through 2019, Streaming Service Says

“That’s content that we would definitely want on our platform, and it’s obviously very important to Netflix as well,” Stephenson tacked on to the “Friends” conversation a few minutes later. “So, it’s kind of a logical situation. Is it necessary that it be exclusive to WarnerMedia on their product? No, it’s not necessary — it’s just important that we have the content.”

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TBS Scraps Plans for Michael Moore’s ‘TV Nation’ Revival

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Turner is not going forward with its revival of Michael Moore’s “TV Nation,” the network confirmed to TheWrap.

The decision to scrap “TV Nation” was due to the fact that Moore didn’t have time because of his other projects, according to Turner rep, including his latest film, “Fahrenheit 11/9,” which was released last fall.

The planned revival, which was initially called “Live from the Apocalypse,” was announced in 2017. It was first slated for TNT before being shifted over to TBS, and was renamed “TV Nation,” the same title as Moore’s satirical news magazine that ran on NBC from 1994 to 1995.

Also Read: Michael Moore Finally Finishes His ‘Bowling for Columbine’ Oscar Speech 15 Years Later

It was supposed to premiere in the fall of 2017, before being pushed to 2018 so it could be timed to the midterm elections.

Moore was going to star, direct and executive produce the new “TV Nation” with Meghan O’Hara. The series would see Moore and a team of correspondents take on two of the documentary filmmaker’s favorite targets: Washington Politics and Wall Street.

“TV Nation” was going to be Moore’s first TV series since “The Awful Truth” went off the air in 2000. Moore earned a Primetime Emmy for “TV Nation” — the first for a non-fiction series.

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New WarnerMedia Innovation Lab To Team Tech And Content For Emerging Platforms

Read on: Deadline.

WarnerMedia said Tuesday it is launching the WarnerMedia Innovation Lab, an incubator that will combine emerging technologies with the company’s content to create new consumer experiences and businesses. The goal is to increase collaboration betw…