Michael Wright Inks New Deal to Remain Atop MGM+ (Exclusive)
Michael Wright are among the key executives who will continue to work at MGM .
Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that the executive has signed a new contract to MGM parent Amazon. He will continue to be president of Epix, the premium cable network. MGM will be the new name for the cabler.
MGM’s unscripted president Barry Poznick, and COO Chris Brearton, have also signed new deals with Amazon to continue their involvement with the iconic studio. Brearton, whose title and responsibilities are expected to change, has been with MGM since early 2018 and currently oversees global business operations as well as growth initiatives. Sources say that he will not be the COO. Poznick, meanwhile, will continue to supervise unscripted programming for the cable network he joined 2016. Poznick was previously under the supervision of Mark Burnett. It is not clear if MGM and Amazon executives will oversee the position. Vernon Sanders, the streaming giant/streamer, has yet to explain how the studio will integrate on the reality side. Sources claim that Poznick will be joined at MGM by the co-head of unscripted.
Amazon declined to comment.
Wright’s new deal comes as Amazon is busy integrating MGM in its current executive structure. After Amazon’s $8.5 billion MGM acquisition closed in February, motion picture group chairman Michael De Luca and motion picture group president Pam Abdy exited their roles in April and were followed this week by Burnett. Amazon also restructured MGM’s scripted TV ranks, under the direction of Vernon Sanders, head of television. Lindsay Sloane was promoted to head of MGM’s U.S. scripted TV fare including Netflix hit Wednesday, Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale and FX’s Fargo, among others, while Rola Bauer was upped to head of Pan-English scripted streaming TV, development and series. Sloane and Bauer report directly to Sanders and his direct reporting at Amazon, Lauren Anderson and Laura Lancaster, as well as Nick Pepper.
Epix has produced a number of scripted originals under Wright. They hail from both MGM TV as well as outside studios. His roster includes Godfather of Harlem, Billy the Kid, sci-fi horror thriller From and dramas Rogue Heroes, Belgravia and the recently ordered Hotel Cocaine, from Godfather of Harlem‘s Chris Brancato.
Former TNT/TBS chief and Amblin CEO Wright first joined Epix in late 2017 after the premium cable network became fully owned by MGM. It previously was a joint venture between Viacom and Lionsgate, with MGM acquiring full control as part of a $1 billion deal. Gary Barber, former CEO of MGM Global TV, hired him at Epix. Barber was fired in March 2018 amid tension with MGM Global TV chief Mark Burnett, among other factors. Burnett, on the other hand, resigned from his MGM Global TV role this week. He will continue to produce hits such as Survivor and Shark Tank. is also expected to continue producing hits.
Wright’s new deal will allow him to return to MGM and its streaming counterpart. Wright had spent much of the past two years serving in a dual role running Epix and its streamer as well as running MGM TV/United Artists following Steve Stark’s surprise departure in March 2021. Stark’s abrupt departure from Burnett after internal disputes stunned the studio and industry observers alike. Wright extended his MGM deal, allowing Stark to take on additional duties. This means that Stark, the former network chief and studio chief, has done this twice in two years.
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