President and CEO Josh Sapan to Take on New Role of Executive Vice Chairman
Seasoned Media Executive Matthew Blank to Serve as Interim Chief Executive Officer
NEW YORK, Aug. 24, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- AMC Networks (NASDAQ: AMCX) today announced that following a successful 26-year tenure as president and chief executive officer Josh Sapan has notified the company of his desire to transition to executive vice chairman. To help ensure an orderly transition, the company also announced that seasoned media executive Matthew Blank will serve as interim chief executive officer while the company conducts a search for a replacement.
Over more than three decades, Mr. Sapan grew AMC Networks into a dynamic global entertainment company known for celebrated and groundbreaking original content, such as Mad Men, Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead, and an unrivaled portfolio of brands, among them AMC, BBC America, IFC, SundanceTV, WE tv and IFC Films. In his new role as executive vice chairman, Mr. Sapan will continue to assist in setting AMC Networks’ corporate and creative direction and work closely with the company’s leadership to support the overall advancement of the company, particularly as it continues to grow its targeted streaming business, led by its streaming offerings which include AMC+, Acorn TV, Shudder, Sundance Now and ALLBLK.
Mr. Blank joins AMC Networks following more than 40 years of leadership positions in the media industry, including 20 years as chairman and chief executive officer of Showtime Networks, where he also served as president and chief operating officer. While at Showtime, Mr. Blank played a key role in helping the company expand beyond the traditional pay TV model with the successful launch of Showtime’s standalone streaming service. Mr. Blank also spent more than a decade at Home Box Office, Inc., departing as senior vice president, consumer marketing. As interim chief executive officer, Mr. Blank will utilize his expertise and work with AMC Networks’ leadership, including Mr. Sapan, to maximize the company’s streaming business, while building on its core assets.
AMC Networks Chairman James Dolan said: “Over his long career, Josh’s leadership ensured AMC Networks became a force in entertainment, with far-reaching influence throughout the industry, and home to some of the most successful and innovative shows in the history of television. We are grateful for his vision, creativity and management expertise and look forward to his continued contributions as executive vice chairman.”
Mr. Dolan added: “We are also delighted to have Matt help us through this transition. His wealth of media experience will prove valuable as he works with Josh and the AMC Networks team to support the company’s continued success.”
“This has been the greatest career I could have ever imagined, and I am enormously proud of all that we have accomplished. I am deeply grateful to Charles and Jim Dolan for allowing me this spectacular opportunity,” said Mr. Sapan. “There has perhaps been no more exciting time for the company than right now and, as executive vice chairman, I look forward to continuing to work with the outstanding team at AMC Networks, as well as Matt, my great colleague and friend, to focus on how we maximize our unique content to accelerate our streaming goals.”
Mr. Sapan became President and CEO of AMC Networks in 1995, when the company was known as Rainbow Media and was a subsidiary of Cablevision Systems Corporation. During his tenure, he reshaped the company, evolving it from a collection of U.S. cable channels showcasing classic movies to what is today a global entertainment company known for bold, prestige original drama, and more recently, for its portfolio of fast-growing targeted streaming services.
Under Mr. Sapan’s leadership, AMC Networks has become a destination for critically-acclaimed and award-winning content, including original drama series Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, The Walking Dead, Killing Eve, and Rectify; mini-series The Night Manager, Top of the Lake and Carlos; and mold-breaking comedies Portlandia, Documentary Now! and Brockmire. A champion of new voices, Mr. Sapan has brought independent film to wide audiences through IFC Films, supporting the early work of ground-breaking directors including Lena Dunham, Barry Jenkins, Richard Linklater, Mira Nair, Christopher Nolan and Lynn Shelton, among many others.
Mr. Sapan led the launch of the company’s first streaming offerings, Sundance Now (in 2014) and Shudder (in 2015). These launches were followed by the 2018 acquisition of RLJ Entertainment, which added Acorn TV and ALLBLK to the company’s streaming portfolio, and last year’s launch of the AMC+ premium bundle – all of which set the company on its present course with a future built around targeted streaming offerings.
At Showtime Networks, Mr. Blank was instrumental in Showtime’s launch of a standalone streaming service, as well as its early adoption of critical digital technologies that have enhanced the user experience, such as high-definition video and subscription video on demand (SVOD). Mr. Blank’s tenure included numerous award-winning original programs, including Homeland, Ray Donovan, Shameless, Billions, Dexter, Weeds and The Circus, as well as decades of Showtime Championship Boxing featuring Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Floyd Mayweather and dozens of other boxing greats.
Mr. Blank served on the Board of Directors of the National Cable Television Association (NCTA) for nearly 25 years and remains on the board of The Cable Center. In 2013, he was honored by the Center for Communication with the Dr. Frank Stanton Award for Excellence in Communications. He was inducted into Broadcasting and Cable magazine’s Hall of Fame in 2008 and the Cable Center Hall of Fame in 2009. He has received numerous industry awards, including the NCTA’s Vanguard awards for Marketing, Programming, and the industry’s top honor, the Vanguard Award for Leadership in 2008.
Mr. Blank currently serves as a director for Cumulus Media and CuriosityStream. In accepting his new interim position at AMC Networks, Mr. Blank has also resigned from the board of directors for MSG Entertainment. Mr. Blank is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business and holds an MBA from Baruch College.
About AMC Networks
AMC Networks is a global entertainment company known for its popular and critically-acclaimed content. Its portfolio of brands includes AMC, BBC AMERICA (operated through a joint venture with BBC Studios), IFC, SundanceTV, WE tv, IFC Films, and a number of fast-growing streaming services, including the AMC+ premium streaming bundle, Acorn TV, Shudder, Sundance Now and ALLBLK. AMC Studios, the Company’s in-house studio, production and distribution operation, is behind award-winning owned series and franchises, including The Walking Dead, the highest-rated series in cable history. The Company also operates AMC Networks International, its international programming business, and 25/7 Media, its production services business.
Source: AMC Networks Inc.