Kevin Reilly, the new president of TBS and TNT and chief creative office of Turner Entertainment, has split the networks’ original programming team into two units. He also named his leadership roster on Tuesday.
Sandra Dewey was elevated to president, TNT and TBS Productions and Business Affairs; Sarah Aubrey has been brought in to head up TNT Originals; and Brett Weitz was promoted to lead TBS Originals.
Those key maneuvers and new structure is in lieu of hiring a No. 2 Programming position, which Reilly previously said he was planning to do.
Dewey, who has worked in a legal capacity with Turner Broadcasting and Warner Bros. for nearly 20 years, will run the in-house studio, which Reilly wants to see more original content from. She has served as executive vice president, head of business affairs, for Turner Entertainment Networks and Cartoon Network Originals since 2012.
Aubrey comes from production company Film 44, where she produced TV’s “Friday Night Lights” and the film “Lone Survivor” with Peter Berg. She’ll help play out Reilly’s vision for TNT: “To sharpen the brand with a distinct slate of new programming aimed at a younger, more dual-gendered audience that expands the network’s presence in the cultural conversation,” the network explained.
Weitz was most recently senior vice president of development for TBS and TNT. His new job will be to make the comedy network more digital and social.
“Over the next couple of years, we will continue to sharpen and evolve our brands by doubling down on original programming and being tenacious about our networks’ value proposition,” said Reilly. “These leadership appointments are the important first step in that direction. With Sandra overseeing business affairs and our growing slate of in-house productions, Sarah joining us to make TNT originals even more distinct and valuable and Brett focusing on both growing and further defining TBS originals, we have a great team of stewards to shepherd this transformation.”
Read Reilly’s internal note in full below:
As you heard David Levy and I both say in the town hall a few weeks ago, increasing our original productions and further sharpening the point of view of the TNT and TBS brands will be key to positioning us for continued success going forward. We have committed to more than doubling our slate of original programming over the next three years or so. To prepare us for this, I have some terrific news to share today that’s going to take the first step toward making this transformation a reality.
First up, Sandra Dewey is being elevated to president of TNT and TBS Productions and business affairs. The delivery of content must follow evolving consumer behaviors and platforms. This requires us to have more control over our original programming and monetize it in various ways. Therefore, we are going to be producing a lot more of our own content, and Sandra’s experience and leadership on both the studio and business affairs side is going to be more vital than ever. I can’t imagine a leadership team without Sandra, and I’m very thankful to have her guiding our expanding studio operations going forward.
Second, I’ve decided to split the TBS and TNT original programming teams into two separate units in order to handle our ramp-up of new shows at each of the networks and to allow for more brand-focused development. With that in mind, I’m very excited to announce that I’ve recruited Sarah Aubrey to serve as executive vice president of TNT original programming. Sarah is a friend and colleague I have worked with before, going back to our collaboration on Friday Night Lights at NBC. She comes to us after heading up Film 44, the production company she started with actor-director-producer Peter Berg. In addition to Friday Night Lights, her producing credits include HBO’s acclaimed drama The Leftovers and the hit movie Lone Survivor. I am very confident Sarah is going to bring a fresh new perspective to TNT, and I can’t wait for her to start!
On the TBS side, we’re planning an aggressive transformation of the network with a focus on making the new TBS more of a destination for bold original programs and a network that is more digital and socially driven. To lead the network’s expanded slate, I’m happy to announce that Brett Weitz has been promoted to executive vice president of TBS original programming. I have garnered a lot of respect and comfort with Brett in a short amount of time. Since joining the company in 2009, Brett has proven himself to be a terrific programming executive, with a string of hits that includes Rizzoli & Isles and Falling Skies, among many others. In his new role, I know Brett is going to push the TBS slate in exciting new directions.
Sandra, Sarah and Brett will all report to me under this new structure. To support them in their roles, valued veterans Lillah McCarthy and Sam Linsky will now focus their duties specifically on TNT originals, reporting to Sarah, while Thom Hinkle will remain at TBS, reporting to Brett. David Eilenberg will continue to supervise unscripted programming, late night and specials in support of both networks as we assess our unscripted strategy in relation to our new brand positions. And Lisa Freiberger will continue to handle our casting needs for both networks’ expanding lineup.
Even though I think it’s important that we have two separate teams handling original programming for the networks, I plan to maintain the current structure of marketing, on-air, scheduling and acquisitions working across both TBS and TNT. It’s the best way to be efficient with our resources, share assets between the two networks and encourage collaboration.
Please join me in welcoming Sarah to the Turner family and congratulating Brett and Sandra on their well-deserved promotions!
I hope you’re as excited as I am about the future we’re embarking on for these two great networks.