Sarah Barnett, the president of AMC Networks Entertainment Group and AMC Studios, is departing the company after 12 years.
AMC Networks COO Ed Carroll will run the group while the company searches for a replacement.
Barnett oversaw the studio and cable channels AMC, BBC America, IFC and SundanceTV, as well as its streaming service AMC Premiere. She was named head of the Entertainment Group in 2018 following stints running BBC America and SundanceTV.
“This is a year that has confronted us with radical change on multiple fronts,” Barnett said. “After a lot of consideration – and with a slightly breaking heart – I have decided that it is the right time for me to follow my curiosity and leave things in the very capable hands of the outstanding team at AMC Networks. Shaping stories and connecting them to audiences alongside brilliant people inside and outside of this company has been a unique joy and privilege for the past 11 years. Ed Carroll and Josh Sapan gave me many rich opportunities to build great brands and take creative risks in the pursuit of exciting television, I am so thankful to them for that. I leave with gratitude and huge affection for all my AMC Networks colleagues who will continue to make and do great things.”
In March, AMC hired former Lionsgate TV executive Dan McDermott to run original programming and will take much of the lead in Barnett’s absence. He is also co-president of AMC Studios. Barnett’s departure comes a year after David Madden, who led programming for AMC’s Entertainment Networks and AMC Studios, left following AMC Studios’ move under the Entertainment Networks Group umbrella.
Barnett helped to launch both SundanceTV and BBC America’s original scripted slate, with “Top of the Lake,” “Rectify” and “Orphan Black.” During her two-year tenure leading the Entertainment Networks Group, Barnett has shepherded “Walking Dead: World Beyond,” Michael B. Jordan’s “61st Street” and AMC’s first animated series, “Pantheon.”
“Sarah came to AMC Networks more than a decade ago, when we acquired Sundance Channel,” Carroll said. “She immediately put her stamp on Sundance with fresh, impactful storytelling like ‘Rectify’ and ‘Top of the Lake’ which continued when she took the reins of BBC America, growing ‘Orphan Black,’ the network’s natural history franchises and developing the critical and audience hit ‘Killing Eve.’ At AMC, she expanded the growing franchise of ‘The Walking Dead’ while greenlighting new shows including ‘Kevin Can F*** Himself’ and ’61st Street,’ and she built a strong team to meet the shifting nature of our business. Sarah is one of the most versatile executives I have had the pleasure of working with – expert at programming, branding and team building, all with an eye toward the business of a rapidly changing entertainment landscape. She is also a truly progressive leader. We will miss her at AMC Networks.”