Jen Salke to Replace Roy Price as Amazon Studios Chief

NBC Entertainment president takes gig vacated by a sexual harassment scandal

Getty Images

Jen Salke has been named the new head of Amazon Studios. NBC Entertainment president since July 2011, Salke replaces Roy Price, who resigned from the Amazon role in October amid a sexual harassment scandal.

In her new role. Salke will oversee Amazon’s television and film production and report to Jeff Blackburn, the company’s senior VP of business development and digital entertainment.

“What stood out about Jen was the deep relationships she has nurtured with creators and talent over her career, spanning NBCU, Twentieth Century Fox, and Aaron Spelling Productions,” Blackburn said. “She’s built an impeccable reputation as a big leader who emphasizes creativity, collaboration, and teamwork.”

Last month, Salke had added the oversight of business affairs and production for scripted programming to her NBCUniversal job description. She is credited with bringing well-received sitcoms “Superstore” and “The Good Place” to the network, and was the driving force behind shows like “This Is Us,” “The Blacklist,” and Dick Wolf’s “Chicago” franchise. Salke oversaw the development of “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” and “The Mindy Project,” among other series.

Prior to joining NBC Entertainment, Salke was with 20th Century Fox Television, where she was executive vice president of creative affairs. Salke joined Fox in 2002.

“I’m incredibly excited about the future at Amazon Studios,” Salke added. “In the studio’s relatively short existence they have innovated, disrupted, and created characters that are already an indelible part of pop-culture. I am both honored and emboldened by the opportunity to lead this extraordinary business. Of course, this is also bittersweet for me. NBC has been an amazing home – creatively, professionally and personally – and I leave there knowing that the work we did had groundbreaking impact. It’s an exciting time to be a content creator, and I look forward to being on the front lines of an innovative business with storytelling at its heart.”

Amazon COO Albert Cheng, who has overseen the studio since Price’s exit, will now report to Salke, along with Amazon Studios film head Jason Ropell and VP of content acquisition Brad Beale. Ropell will still oversee the day to day of the film biz. The execs will be sorting out a detailed management plan for the studio over the next few months.

“Jennifer Salke is a world class entertainment executive and deserves enormous credit for helping put NBC back on top,” Robert Greenblatt, NBC Entertainment chairman, said Friday of Salke’s exit from the Peacock. “This opportunity is the logical next step in her phenomenal career and we wish her only the best. While we will all miss her enormously, we will hopefully find many new ways to be in business with her at Amazon.”

A+E Networks’ Nancy Dubuc had also been in the running for Price’s vacant seat, but she bowed out on Thursday.

Last fall, Price was put on leave after “The Man in the High Castle” executive producer Isa Hackett accused the executive of sexually harassing her. Chief operating officer Albert Cheng was named his interim replacement. Price resigned about a week after his initial suspension.

The executive had been with Amazon since 2004, where he led the tech giant’s entry into the streaming video business and oversaw the launch of original titles including “Transparent,” “Mozart in the Jungle” and “The Man in the High Castle.”

The alleged incident with Hackett and Price first came to light in August, after an investigation of the tech giant by website The Information revealed a complaint was lodged in 2015. Amazon, run by Jeff Bezos, hired a third-party firm to investigate the accusations.

The inquiry was closed and its findings were never revealed.

“You’ll love my dick,” Price allegedly told Hackett during a cab ride at San Diego Comic-Con, the producer told The Hollywood Reporter on Thursday.

In the wake of the accusations against Price, as well as those lodged against producer Harvey Weinstein, Amazon senior vice president Jeff Blackburn sent an email to employees calling the news “sad and very disappointing to me.”

“Amazon does not tolerate harassment or abuse of our employees or our business partners. If a concern is brought to our attention, we investigate it quickly and thoroughly,” Blackburn wrote.

Around the same time, Amazon announced that it had cut ties with Weinstein and The Weinstein Company, axing a planned series from director David O. Russell and taking over Matt Weiner’s eight-episode anthology series “The Romanoffs.”