It’s official – Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon studios, will also oversee MGM, the venerable film and television studio, which was acquired by Amazon earlier this year for $8.5 billion. Additionally, MGM Chief Operating Officer Chris Brearton will take on a new role as Vice President, PVS Corporate Strategy, MGM+ and MGM Alternative Television. Mike Hopkins, SVP, Prime Video and Amazon Studios, just made the announcement internally in a memo. (You can read it below the post.)
“Jen’s outstanding reputation in the creative community has earned her the respect of top Hollywood talent throughout the industry,” Hopkins wrote. “With Jen now overseeing both studios – as well as distribution and all creative marketing – creatives will have a single entry point for the ability to showcase their content across all of our platforms.”
In his new role, Chris Brearton, who led MGM’s integration into Prime Video and Amazon Studios, will lead business planning and corporate strategy for Prime Video and Studios. He will also oversee MGM+ and MGM Alternative.
The expansion of Salke’s responsibilities was expected, and it was indirectly signaled earlier today when one of his direct reports, television executive Vernon Sanders, unveiled the direction of MGM’s scripted television that reports to him.
In her memo, Salke outlined the executive structure of the combined operation she oversees. Still TBD is a new film director for MGM who will report to him.
As previously reported, Sanders will continue to lead Amazon TV and will now oversee scripted MGM TV, led by Lindsay Sloane and Rola Bauer on the scripted side. Julie Rapaport will continue to lead the AOM team as well as oversee the MGM film crew. Dan Scharf will add oversight of MGM’s BA and business operations as well as casting, music and production. New Amazon Studios Marketing Manager Sue Kroll will add MGM to her tenure, and MGM Marketing Director Stephen Bruno will now report to her. Brad Beale’s content licensing tenure will now include MGM, with Chris Ottinger, MGM’s head of global distribution and acquisition, now reporting to Beale. And Erik Lomis, head of theatrical distribution at United Artists Releasing, will report directly to Salke.
Separately, Brearton revealed its management team which includes Michael Wright as head of MGM+ as well as Brian Edwards and Barry Poznick as heads of MGM Unscripted TV.
Prime Video releases Season 1 of its biggest Amazon Studios series yet, LOTR: Rings of Power. Other successful scripted series on the platform include The boys, which spawned a franchise; Jack Ryan; and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. The streamer also just won the Reality Competition Emmy Award for Lizzo watch out for big grrrls. On the movie side, notable audience performers include the Borat and welcome to america sequels as well as tomorrow’s war. The studio has a few Oscar contenders on the documentary side, good night Oppy and Wild cat.
Salke has been the head of Amazon Studios since February 2018. Prior to that, she was president of NBC Entertainment. Some of the hits she led included It’s us and the Chicago franchise.
Prior to joining NBC, Salke served as executive vice president of creative affairs at 20th Century Fox TV, where she oversaw the development of such popular series as Joy and modern family. As Senior Vice President of Drama Development at the studio, she led the development of hits Bones and Prison Break, among others.
Salke began her career at Aaron Spelling Productions in the early 1990s where she worked on the original Beverly Hills, 90210 and Melrose Square.
Here is Hopkins’ note:
Almost nine months ago, when we acquired MGM, we announced that we would take a thoughtful and measured approach to the integration process. It was important to take the time to ensure the right people were in the right roles for maximum collaboration, creativity and innovation. We have made many important decisions during this time and have now completed the essential work of putting our organizational structure in place. I’m happy to share that effective immediately, Jennifer Salke will become head of Amazon and MGM Studios, adding oversight of MGM scripted television and films, distribution, and creative marketing. Additionally, I would like to welcome Chris Brearton to a new role, VP, PVS Corporate Strategy, MGM+ and MGM Alternative Television.
Jen’s outstanding reputation in the creative community has earned her the respect of top Hollywood talent throughout the industry. With Jen now overseeing both studios – as well as distribution and all creative marketing – creatives will have a single entry point for the ability to showcase their content across all of our platforms. Serving the creative community in this way will streamline and improve the creative process, broaden our growing stable of content, and strongly reinforce Jen’s commitment to being the home of talent.
Chris Brearton ran MGM’s business and led its integration into Prime Video and Amazon Studios. In his new role, he will lead business planning and corporate strategy for PVS. He will also oversee MGM+ and MGM Alternative, where he will be responsible for accelerating rebranding and leading the growth of the MGM+ premium service, while working closely with MGM’s seasoned unscripted television team to continue their legacy of megahits, such as Survivor, Shark Tank and The Voice. Brearton will report to me and join my leadership team, effective immediately.
I appreciate all the work done on this integration and believe we are now in a better position to realize our ambitious vision with the best leaders at the helm. Throughout this process, you have continued to provide excellent entertainment to customers around the world. We have released three MGM film titles in direct-to-home (DTS) PV, including Thirteen Lives, Anything Is Possible and Samaritan, as well as the critically acclaimed theatrical releases of Till and Bones & All. We’ve teamed up to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the 007 franchise in October 2022.
We have some great new stories to bring to our customers in the coming weeks with Women Talking, Boys in the Boat and Creed III, with more in development for Prime Video. In addition to launches, we lit Road House with Jake Gyllenhaal and The Underdoggs with Snoop Dogg. In partnership with MGM Television, we greenlit and began production on Shelter (based on Harlan Coben’s best-selling thriller novel), The Consultant (starring Christoph Waltz) and A Road to a Million (a reality competition series starring featured locations from 007 movies).
I’m so grateful for all the work you’ve done collectively this year, and I look forward to all that we can do together as we build the next phase of this rich legacy of amazing content. Jen and Chris will soon talk to you about their visions and goals for their respective organizations. Thank you all for your patience and commitment throughout this process.
Here is Salke’s email:
Mike just shared some news about our organizational structure, and I wanted to say how proud I am to be named head of Amazon and MGM Studios. It is a privilege to lead such a talented team of people. We have such an exciting opportunity ahead of us as we continue to build our best studios and entertain even more people around the world.
With my additional oversight of MGM’s television and scripted films, distribution, and creative marketing, I have some news to share with my executive team. Vernon Sanders will continue to run Amazon TV and will now oversee scripted MGM TV with Lindsay Sloane and Rola Bauer. Julie Rapaport will continue to lead the AOM team as well as oversee the MGM film team as we integrate. Dan Scharf will add oversight of MGM’s BA and business operations as well as casting, music and production. Sue Kroll, the new Chief Marketing Officer of Amazon Studios, will add MGM to her tenure, and MGM Chief Marketing Officer Stephen Bruno will now report to Sue. Brad Beale’s content licensing tenure will now include MGM, with Chris Ottinger, head of MGM’s global distribution and acquisition, now reporting to Brad. And Erik Lomis, head of theatrical distribution at United Artists Releasing, will report directly to me. I want to thank you all for your patience as we integrate the talented teams at MGM. And we’ll have more announcements to share over the coming months.
These are dynamic times for all of us in the entertainment industry. And here at Amazon and MGM Studios, we have the best leaders, creatives and talent in the business. I am proud to be part of this amazing organization and look forward to all that we can – and will do – do together.