Wright had been in the running to replace Turner Entertainment Networks president Steve Koonin
Michael Wright, president, head of programming for TNT, TBS and Turner Classic Movies, is leaving the company after 12 years with Turner.
Wright, who joined TNT in 2002, was named to his current position in May 2012. The executive, who previously served as vice president of movies and miniseries for CBS Productions and CBS Entertainment, is responsible for all programming for the networks. Series launched under Wright’s watch include “The Closer,” “Rizzoli & Isles” and “Falling Skies,” and he was responsible for TBS’ acquisition of the CBS hit “The Big Bang Theory.”
Wright’s decision to leave follows the April departure of Turner Entertainment Networks president Steve Koonin, who left to become CEO of the Atlanta Hawks. Wright had been in contention as a replacement for Koonin, but withdrew himself in July. Wright will remain on while the search for Koonin’s replacement continues.
His departure comes as Turner prepares to downsize as part of a corporate restructuring that will take place over the next two months. The restructuring is part of the “Turner 2020” initiative, an attempt to maximize performance and trim fat by reducing spending and increasing profitability.
As previously reported by TheWrap, approximately 550 buyouts are being offered to Turner employees, with layoffs to follow if the buyouts aren’t taken voluntarily.