It’s official — Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke will also oversee MGM, the venerable movie and TV studio, which was acquired by Amazon for $8.5 billion earlier this year. In addition, MGM’s COO Chris Brearton will take on a new role, VP, 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 Hollywood’s top talent across the industry,” Hopkins wrote. “With Jen now overseeing both studios – along with distribution and all creative marketing – creatives have a single point of entry for the ability to showcase their content across all of our platforms.”
In his new role, Chris Brearton, who oversaw MGM’s integration into Prime Video and Amazon Studios, will lead business planning and 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 her direct reports, Head of Television Vernon Sanders, revealed the MGM scripted TV lead reporting to him.
In her staff memorandum, Salke has set out the executive structure of the combined operation that she oversees. Still TBD is a new movie head for MGM who will report to her.
As previously reported, Sanders will continue to run Amazon television and will now oversee scripted MGM television, led by Lindsay Sloane and Rola Bauer on the scripted side. Julie Rapaport will continue to lead the AOM team and oversee the MGM film team. Dan Scharf will oversee MGM’s BA and business operations, as well as casting, music and production. Amazon Studios’ newly appointed head of marketing, Sue Kroll, will add MGM to her roster, and MGM’s chief marketing officer Stephen Bruno will now report to her. Brad Beale’s content licensing job now includes MGM, while Chris Ottinger, MGM’s head of global distribution and acquisition, now reports to Beale. And Erik Lomis, head of theater distribution at United Artists Releasing, will report directly to Salke.
Separately, Brearton revealed his senior executive team, which includes Michael Wright as head of MGM+ and Brian Edwards and Barry Poznick as heads of MGM Unscripted TV.
Prime Video comes from Season 1 of the biggest Amazon Studios series to date, LOTR: The rings of power. Other successful scripted series on the platform include the boys, which led to one franchise; Jack Ryan; and The wonderful Mrs. Maisel. The streamer also just won the Reality Competition Emmy Award for Lizzo’s Watch out for the big grrrls. On the movie side, the notable performers of the ratings are the Borat and Welcome to America also prosecute The war of tomorrow. The studio has a number of Oscar nominees on the documentary side, Goodnight Oppie and wild cat.
Salke has been head of Amazon Studios since February 2018. Before that, she was president of NBC Entertainment. Some of the hits she has led are included This is us and the Chicago franchise.
Before joining NBC, Salke was EVP of Creative Affairs at 20th Century Fox TV, overseeing the development of popular series such as cheerfulness and Modern family. As SVP of Drama Development at the studio, she led the development of hits Bones and Jailbreak, among other things.
Salke began her career in the early 1990s at Aaron Spelling Productions, where she worked on the original Beverly Hills, 90210 and Melrose place.
Here’s Hopkins’ memo:
When we acquired MGM nearly nine months ago, we said we would approach the integration process thoughtfully and deliberately. It was important to take the time to ensure the right people were in the right jobs to maximize collaboration, creativity and innovation. We made many important decisions during this period and have now completed the essential work of setting up our organizational structure. I am pleased to announce that effective immediately, Jennifer Salke will become the head of Amazon and MGM Studios, overseeing MGM scripted television and film, distribution and creative marketing. I would also like to welcome Chris Brearton, who will take on 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 Hollywood’s top talent across the industry. Now that Jen has oversight of both studios – along with distribution and all creative marketing – creatives have a single point of entry to showcase their content across all of our platforms. Serving the creative community in this way streamlines and enhances the creative process, expands our growing stable of content, and greatly reinforces Jen’s commitment to being the home for talent.
Chris Brearton ran MGM’s business and led its integration into Prime Video and Amazon Studios. In his new role, he will lead the business planning and strategy for PVS. He will also oversee MGM+ and MGM Alternative, where he will be responsible for accelerating the rebrand and leading the growth of the MGM+ premium service, while also working closely with MGM’s seasoned off-script television team to carry on their legacy of mega hits like Survivor. , Shark Tank and The Voice. Brearton will report to me and join my senior leadership team effective immediately.
I appreciate all the work done on this integration and believe we are now better positioned to deliver on our ambitious vision with the very best leaders at the helm. Throughout this process, you have continued to deliver great entertainment to customers around the world. We’ve released three MGM movie titles for direct-to-streaming (DTS) releases on PV, including Thirteen Lives, Anything Is Possible, and Samaritan, and the critically acclaimed theatrical releases of Till and Bones & All. We teamed up to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the 007 franchise in October 2022.
With Women Talking, Boys in the Boat and Creed III, we’ll be able to deliver new high-quality stories to our customers in the coming weeks, with more in development for Prime Video. In addition to launches, we’ve greenlit Road House with Jake Gyllenhaal and The Underdoggs with Snoop Dogg. In partnership with MGM Television, we green-lit 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 featuring locations from 007 movies).
I’m so grateful for all the work you’ve done together this year, and I look forward to all we can do together as we build the next phase of this rich legacy of amazing content. You will soon hear from Jen and Chris about their visions and goals for their respective organizations. Thank you all for your patience and commitment during this process.
Here’s 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 a team of such immensely talented people. We have such a great opportunity ahead of us as we continue to build out our best-in-class studios and entertain even more people around the world.
With my added oversight of MGM’s scripted television and film, distribution and creative marketing, I have some news to share about my leadership team. Vernon Sanders will continue to run Amazon television and will now oversee scripted MGM television with Lindsay Sloane and Rola Bauer. Julie Rapaport will continue to lead the AOM team and oversee the MGM film team as we continue to integrate. Dan Scharf will oversee MGM’s BA and business operations, as well as casting, music and production. Sue Kroll, Amazon Studios’ newly appointed head of marketing, adds MGM to her remit, and MGM’s chief marketing officer Stephen Bruno will now report to Sue. Brad Beale’s content licensing job now includes MGM, with Chris Ottinger, MGM’s head of global distribution and acquisition, now reporting to Brad. And Erik Lomis, head of theater 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 in 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 industry’s best leaders, creatives, and talents. I am proud to be part of this great organization and look forward to all that we can – and will – do together.