Amazon Studios Jennifer Salke Adds MGM Oversight, MGMs Chris Brearton To Take Over MGM+ & MGM Alternative TV

It’s official – Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios, will also oversee MGM, the venerable film and TV studio, which was acquired by Amazon earlier this year for $8.5 billion. Additionally, 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 red it under the post.)

“Jen’s outstanding reputation in the creative community has earned her the respect of Hollywood’s top talent throughout the industry,” Hopkins wrote. “With Jen now having oversight of both studios – along with distribution and all creative marketing – creatives will have a single point of entry for the opportunity to showcase their content across all our platforms.”

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In his new role, Chris Brearton, who has been shepherding 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 her direct reports, Head of Television Vernon Sanders, unveiled the MGM scripted TV leadership which reports into him.

In her staff memo, Salke laid out the executive structure of the combined operation she is overseeing. Still TBD is a new film head for MGM who will be reporting to her.

As previously reported, Sanders will continue to run Amazon television and will now have oversight of scripted MGM television, led by Lindsay Sloane and Rola Bauer on the scripted side. Julie Rapaport will continue to run the AOM team as well as oversee the MGM film team. Dan Scharf will add oversight of MGM’s BA and business operations as well as casting, music, and production. Amazon Studios newly appointed marketing head Sue Kroll will add MGM to her purview, and MGM’s chief marketing officer Stephen Bruno will now report to her. Brad Beale’s content licensing remit will now include MGM, with Chris Ottinger, MGM’s head of worldwide distribution and acquisition, now reporting to Brad. And Erik Lomis, head of theatrical distribution at United Artists Releasing, will report directly to Salke.

Separately, Brearton unveiled his senior executive team which includes Michael Wright as Head Of MGM+ as well as Brian Edwards and Barry Posnick as Heads Of MGM Unscripted TV.

Prime Video is coming off the Season 1 run of its biggest Amazon Studios series to date, LOTR: The Rings Of Power. Other hit scripted series on the platform include The Boys, which has spawned a franchise, Jack Ryan and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. The streamer also just won the Reality Competition Emmy Award for Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls. On the film side, notable ratings performers include the Borat and Welcome To America sequels as well as The Tomorrow War. The studio has a couple of Oscar contenders on the documentary side, Good Night Oppy and Wildcat.

Salke has been Head of Amazon Studios since February 2018. Before that, she was President of NBC Entertainment. Some of the hits she has shepherded included This Is Us and the Chicago franchise. 

Prior to joining NBC, Salke served as EVP Creative Affairs at 20th Century Fox TV, where she oversaw the development of such popular series as Glee and Modern Family. As SVP of Drama Development at the studio, she shepherded 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 Place.

Here is Hopkins’ memo:

Hi team,

Nearly nine months ago when we acquired MGM, we said 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 jobs for maximum collaboration, creativity, and innovation. We have made many important decisions during this time, and now have completed the essential work of setting up our organizational structure. I am pleased to share that effective immediately, Jennifer Salke will become head of Amazon and MGM Studios, adding oversight of MGM scripted television and film, distribution, and creative marketing. Additionally, I’d 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 throughout the industry. With Jen now having oversight of both studios – along with distribution and all creative marketing – creatives will have a single point of entry for the opportunity to showcase their content across all our platforms. Serving the creative community in this way will streamline and enhance the creative process, expand our growing stable of content, and strongly reinforce Jen’s commitment to being the home for talent.

Chris Brearton has been running the business of MGM and leading 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 the rebrand and spearheading the growth of the MGM + premium service, while also working closely with the seasoned MGM 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 senior leadership team, effective immediately.

I appreciate all of the work on this integration and believe we are now better positioned to deliver on our ambitious vision with very best leaders at the helm. Throughout this process you have continued to deliver great entertainment to customers around the world. We released three MGM film titles to direct-to-streaming (DTS) releases on PV including Thirteen Lives, Anything Is Possible, and Samaritan, and the critically lauded theatrical releases of Till and Bones & All. We partnered on celebrating the 60th anniversary of the 007 franchise in October 2022.

We have new quality storytelling to bring to our customers in the coming weeks with Women Talking, Boys in the Boat, and Creed III, with even more in development for Prime Video. In addition to launches, we greenlit Road House with Jake Gyllenhaal and The Underdoggs with 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 appreciative of all the work you’ve collectively done this year, and look forward to all we can do together as we build the next phase of this rich legacy of amazing content. You will be hearing from Jen and Chris soon about their visions and goals for their respective organizations. Thank you all for your patience and commitment throughout this process.

Mike

Here’s Salke’s email:

Team,

Mike just shared some news about our organizational structure, and I wanted to say how proud I am to be named the head of Amazon and MGM Studios. It is a privilege to lead a team of such immensely talented people. We have such an exciting opportunity ahead of us as we continue to build out our best-in-class studios and entertain even more people all over the world.

With my added oversight of MGM’s scripted television and film, distribution, and creative marketing, I have some news to share on my leadership team. Vernon Sanders will continue to run Amazon television and will now have oversight of scripted MGM television with Lindsay Sloane and Rola Bauer. Julie Rapaport will continue to run the AOM team as well as oversee the MGM film team as we continue to integrate. Dan Scharf will add oversight of MGM’s BA and business operations as well as casting, music, and production. Amazon Studios newly appointed marketing head Sue Kroll will add MGM to her purview, and MGM’s chief marketing officer Stephen Bruno will now report to Sue. Brad Beale’s content licensing remit will now include MGM, with Chris Ottinger, MGM’s head of worldwide distribution and acquisition, now reporting to Brad. And Erik Lomis, head of theatrical distribution at United Artists Releasing, will report directly to me. I’d like to thank all of you for your patience as we integrate the talented teams at MGM. And we will have more announcements to share over the next few 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 a part of this amazing organization and look forward to all that we can – and will – do together.

Jen

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