Amazon’s Jennifer Salke Gains Control of MGM Film, TV Operations
The head of Amazon Studios has just been handed total control of MGM’s film and television divisions following the retail giant/streamer’s February acquisition of the storied studio behind the James Bond and Rocky/Creed franchises.
The Salke announcement is but one of multiple staffing moves announced via a trio of internal memos late Tuesday by Amazon’s Mike Hopkins, Salke herself and MGM COO Chris Brearton, who as The Hollywood Reporter exclusively reported is staying on but in a new role as vp PVS corporate strategy at MGM and MGM Alternative Television. (See the memos below.)
Salke’s official title is head at Amazon and MGM Studios. She will also oversee MGM’s scripted TV and film distribution, creative marketing and creative marketing. Brearton also confirmed THR‘s previous report that Michael Wright will remain as president of MGM (currently Epix), and Barry Poznick will stay on as head of unscripted with Brian Edwards.
Salke’s victory in the battle to control MGM’s assets with senior vice president Mike Hopkins, to whom she reports, should be considered a win. Sources said that Salke and Hopkins had been jockeying for control over the film division of the company. Salke is expected to hire a film director who will report directly instead of to Hopkins.
Many dominoes are now falling into place for the former NBC scripted exec, with Salke now in place. Salke continues to supervise head of television Vernon Sanders. Sanders also oversees MGM’s scripted TV operations. Hopkins now reports directly to Brearton, the former COO. Brearton will also be responsible for MGM president Wright and the studio’s alternative division.
The new reporting structure ends months of speculation and industry gossip that followed Amazon’s $8.5 billion purchase MGM. MGM has seen a number of high-profile executives leave the company since then. In April, motion picture group chairman Michael De Luca and motion picture group president Pam Abdy exited. They were followed by Mark Burnett on Monday, the reality super-producer and head of MGM’s global TV operations.
Here are memos from Hopkins and Salke:
We stated nearly nine months ago that we would take a thoughtful, measured approach to the integration of MGM. It was crucial to take the time necessary to ensure that the right people were in the right positions for maximum collaboration, creativity, innovation. We made many important decisions and are now ready to set up our organizational structure. I am happy to announce that Jennifer Salke, who will be heading Amazon and MGM Studios, will take over the oversight of MGM scripted TV and film distribution, creative marketing, and creative marketing. Chris Brearton will be my VP, PVS Corporate Strategy and MGM , as well as a new role.
Jen has a stellar reputation in the creative community, earning her the respect of Hollywood’s most prestigious talent. Jen will now have oversight over both studios, as well as distribution and creative marketing. This will give creatives one point of entry to all our platforms. This will help streamline and improve the creative process, expand our content library, and reinforce Jen’s commitment as the home for talent.
Chris Brearton is responsible for the management of MGM and its integration into Prime Video, Amazon Studios and other platforms. He will be responsible for corporate strategy and business planning for PVS. He will also be responsible for MGM , MGM Alternative, and will help to accelerate the rebranding and drive the growth of MGM premium services. He will also work closely with the MGM unscripted TV team to continue their legacy, which includes Survivor, Shark Tank, and The Voice. Effective immediately, Brearton will report directly to me and join my senior leadership group.
I appreciate all the work that went into this integration. We are now better equipped to achieve our ambitious vision with the best leaders at the helm. You have provided great entertainment for customers all over the world throughout this process. Three MGM films were released to direct-tostreaming (DTS), releases on PV, including Thirteen Lives and Anything Is Possible. We also released the critically acclaimed theatrical releases of Till and Bones & All. We partnered on celebrating the 60th anniversary of the 007 franchise in October 2022.
We have new storytelling to offer our customers in the next weeks with Women Talking and Boys in the Boat. There is also Creed III in development for Prime Video. We also greenlit Road House, Jake Gyllenhaal, and The Underdoggs featuring Snoop Dogg. In partnership with MGM Television, we greenlit and commenced production on Shelter (based on the bestselling thriller novel by Harlan Coben), The Consultant (starring Christoph Waltz), and A Road to a Million (a reality competition series featuring locales from 007 movies).
I am so grateful for all you have done this year and look forward to building the next phase of this rich legacy with amazing content. Jen and Chris will soon be sharing their visions and goals for each organization. We are grateful for your patience and support throughout this process.
Mike shared some information about our organizational structure and I wanted to express my pride in being named head of Amazon and MGM Studios. It is an honor to lead a team with such talented people. As we build out our best-in class studios and entertain more people around the world, we have so much ahead of us.
With my additional oversight of MGM’s scripted TV and film distribution, creative marketing, and creative marketing, there are some new developments in my leadership team. Vernon Sanders will continue to manage Amazon television. Rola Bauer and Lindsay Sloane will now be responsible for scripted MGM TV. Julie Rapaport will continue to manage the AOM team and oversee the MGM film production team as we integrate. Dan Scharf will be responsible for MGM’s BA, business operations, casting, music, production, and other aspects. Sue Kroll, Amazon Studios’ new marketing head, will now oversee MGM. Stephen Bruno, MGM’s chief market officer will report to Sue. Brad Beale will now have responsibility for content licensing. Chris Ottinger, MGM’s head of worldwide distribution, acquisition, and distribution, will report to Brad. Erik Lomis, head, United Artists Releasing’s theatrical distribution, will report directly. I want to thank you all for your patience while we integrate the talented team at MGM. We will be sharing more announcements in the coming months.
These are exciting times for everyone in the entertainment industry. Amazon and MGM Studios have some of the most talented leaders, creatives, talent, and leaders in the industry. I am proud to be part of this amazing company and look forward to the many things we can do together.
I realize that we have all gone through a lot of change in the past few months. Now that the integration is complete, I am excited to see the potential to harness and leverage all that Amazon has to offer our business.
We are now ready to embark upon this journey together. We continue to build on the legacy MGM Studios’ legacy with the leadership of Michael Wright, Barry Posnick, Brian Edwards, and Ted Lim as heads of MGM . As we continue to create amazing content for global audiences, I have the greatest confidence in our team.