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Former Wgn America Head Matt Cherniss Joins Apple

Matt Cherniss, the former president and general manager of Wgn America and Tribune Studios, has joined Apple to oversee development at their new worldwide video unit, Variety has confirmed.

He will serve under Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht, the former presidents of Sony Pictures Television who joined the tech giant back in June to oversee the company’s growing push into original content.

Cherniss left Wgn America and Tribune after they were acquired by Sinclair Broadcasting, as Sinclair planned to shift focus away from producing original series. Peter Kern took over Tribune Media following the exit of CEO Peter Liguori, who announced his resignation in January. Cherniss had been with the network since March 2013. As Variety previously reported, Cherniss was a contender for vacant posts at both AMC and Sony Pictures Television. Sources say he was offered the chance to replace AMC’s president of original programming and development Joel Stillerman, who
See full article at Variety - TV News »

Tribune Top Executive Payouts Disclosed as FCC Sets Sinclair Merger Comments Timetable

Top Tribune Media executives are set for multimillion-dollar payouts if the company’s $3.9 billion merger with Sinclair Broadcast Group is completed.

The payouts were revealed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Friday by Sinclair. That came a day after the FCC set the timetable for public comments on the proposed combination as part of its review process.

The pact announced in May is expected to draw significant opposition from media watchdog groups as it is poised to create a broadcast TV colossus with more than 200 stations and reaching more than 70% of U.S. TV households. Sinclair already owns more than 170 stations and aims to add Tribune’s 42 stations. Sinclair has acknowledged in FCC filings that it may have to sell off some stations to secure FCC approval of the deal.

Edward Lazarus, Tribune Media exec VP and general counsel, is estimated to receive $9.7 million from severance compensation and the value of his existing holdings in Tribune
See full article at Variety - TV News »

Wgn America President, Gm Matt Cherniss to Step Down

Matt Cherniss, the president and general manager of Wgn America and Tribune Studios, will step down from that role at the end of this month, Variety has learned.

The move was not unexpected as Sinclair Broadcasting recently announced they will acquire Tribune Media, with plans to shift focus away from producing original series. Peter Kern took over Tribune Media following the exit of CEO Peter Liguori, who announced his resignation in January. Cherniss has been with the network since March 2013. Sources say he is a contender for vacant posts at both AMC and Sony Pictures Television.

“We are grateful to Matt for his leadership, and creative vision in transforming Wgn America,” Kern said. “He’s had a tremendous impact on the company, and we thank him for his significant contributions.”

During Cherniss’ tenure, Wgn America debuted its first original series, “Salem,” which premiered to record ratings for the network. That was followed by the critically-acclaimed drama “Manhattan
See full article at Variety - TV News »

‘Underground’ Canceled After Two Seasons, Officially Taking Wgn America Out of the Drama Game

Tribune Media has officially canceled the critically acclaimed “Underground,” and with that, Wgn America is now out of the quality period drama game.

Underground,” which depicted the pre-Civil War fight for freedom during an era of slavery, will not be continuing for a third season on Wgn America, although producer Sony Pictures Television is said to be aggressively looking to find a new home for the show (but doesn’t have anything to announce yet).

Read More: With ‘People v. O.J. Simpson’ and ‘Underground,’ Director Anthony Hemingway Is Redefining TV’s Approach to Race

“As Wgn America evolves and broadens the scope and scale of its portfolio of series, we recently announced that resources will be reallocated to a new strategy to increase our relevance within the rapidly changing television landscape,” Peter Kern, President and CEO, Tribune Media Company, said in a statement. “This move is designed to deliver additional
See full article at Indiewire Television »

‘Underground’ Canceled After Two Seasons, Officially Taking Wgn America Out of the Drama Game

  • Indiewire
Tribune Media has officially canceled the critically acclaimed “Underground,” and with that, Wgn America is now out of the quality period drama game.

Underground,” which depicted the pre-Civil War fight for freedom during an era of slavery, will not be continuing for a third season on Wgn America, although producer Sony Pictures Television is said to be aggressively looking to find a new home for the show (but doesn’t have anything to announce yet).

Read More: With ‘People v. O.J. Simpson’ and ‘Underground,’ Director Anthony Hemingway Is Redefining TV’s Approach to Race

“As Wgn America evolves and broadens the scope and scale of its portfolio of series, we recently announced that resources will be reallocated to a new strategy to increase our relevance within the rapidly changing television landscape,” Peter Kern, President and CEO, Tribune Media Company, said in a statement. “This move is designed to deliver additional
See full article at Indiewire »

‘Underground’ Canceled After 2 Seasons at Wgn America

‘Underground’ Canceled After 2 Seasons at Wgn America
Wgn America has canceled “Underground” after two seasons, Variety has learned.

The series chronicled the lives of both runaway slaves and abolitionists in the pre-Civil War United States struggling for freedom in what would become known as the Underground Railroad. It starred Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Aldis Hodge, Amirah Vann, Alano Miller, Christopher Meloni, and Jessica de Guow. Aisha Hinds joined the show in Season 2 as legendary abolitionist Harriet Tubman. It was created by Misha Green and Joe Pokaski, who also executive produced alongside John Legend, Akiva Goldsman, Tory Tunnell, Joby Harold, Mike Jackson, Ty Stiklorius and Anthony Hemingway. Sony Pictures TV produced.

Peter Kern, the newly-minted president and CEO of Wgna parent company Tribune Media, issued the following statement:

“As Wgn America evolves and broadens the scope and scale of its portfolio of series, we recently announced that resources will be reallocated to a new strategy to increase our relevance within the rapidly changing television landscape. This
See full article at Variety - TV News »

Sinclair Plans Big Changes for Wgn America, Eyes Mvpd Offering With Tribune Media Deal

Sinclair Broadcast Group CEO Chris Ripley didn’t mince words: Wgn America’s programming focus will be very different once Sinclair’s $3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune Media is completed.

The Baltimore-based station owner has great ambition for using the heft of its expanded national footprint to launch new businesses, potentially even an Mvpd-like bundle of channels, but high-end scripted originals will no longer be a priority if Sinclair and Tribune secure federal approval to tie the knot.

There’s been speculation about Sinclair trying to launch a conservative-leaning news channel in Wgn America’s place — given the talent available from the Fox News shakeup of the past year — but that would be a big investment for a company that is already taking on a big debt load with the Tribune deal, valued at $3.9 billion plus the assumption of $2.7 billion in debt. Sinclair envisions carrying a high five-times-earnings leverage ratio for at least a year if the Tribune
See full article at Variety - TV News »

Wgna To Focus On “Cost Effective” Originals And Reruns, Sinclair CEO Says

The effort to make Wgn America a platform for pricey original programming is over, Sinclair Broadcast CEO Chris Ripley told analysts today in a call to discuss his company’s $3.9 billion deal to buy Tribune Media. Wgna “is already going to be shifting its strategy away from high-cost originals into more cost-effective originals and reruns” now that Peter Kern is interim CEO of Tribune — replacing Peter Liguori, who left the company in March — Ripley says. “We think that…
See full article at Deadline TV »

Sinclair Sets $3.9 Billion Deal to Acquire Tribune Media

Sinclair Sets $3.9 Billion Deal to Acquire Tribune Media
Sinclair Broadcast Group has set a $3.9 billion cash-and-stock agreement to acquire Tribune Media, a deal that will bring more than 200 TV stations under one roof and vault Sinclair into the big leagues of national TV.

“This is a transformational acquisition for Sinclair that will open up a myriad of opportunities for the company,” said Chris Ripley, president-ceo of Sinclair. “The Tribune stations are highly complementary to Sinclair’s existing footprint and will create a leading nationwide media platform that includes our country’s largest markets. The acquisition will enable Sinclair to build Atsc 3.0 (Next Generation Broadcast Platform) advanced services, scale emerging networks and national sales, and integrate content verticals. The acquisition will also create substantial synergistic value through operating efficiencies, revenue streams, programming strategies and digital platforms.”

The deal values Tribune at $43.50 per share, a more than 25% premium over Tribune’s average in February before its share price was buoyed by acquisition rumors. Sinclair
See full article at Variety - TV News »

‘Tales from the Crypt,’ David Chase Miniseries, ‘MTV Unplugged’ and More: A Status Check on Shows in TV Purgatory

  • Indiewire
Television is a fast-paced business, where a show can be written, developed, ordered, cast, produced, and aired all within the course of a year. But sometimes, executives get ahead of themselves and shows are announced prematurely, or circumstances change, forcing delay.

IndieWire combed through some high-profile TV announcements from the past few years that haven’t yet seen the light of day, and asked their status. Some are still in the works; some are still “in development,” which could be code for “we don’t want to admit yet that this show is dead”; and some have quietly faded away.

Read More: M. Night Shyamalan Is Bringing Back ‘Tales From the Crypt’ at TNT

“Tales from the Crypt” (TNT)

TNT announced an ambitious new “Tales from the Crypt”-branded horror block executive produced by M. Night Shyamalan last year, including a 10-episode order of the anthology series, “guided by a newly reinvented Crypt Keeper.
See full article at Indiewire »

‘Tales from the Crypt,’ David Chase Miniseries, ‘MTV Unplugged’ and More: A Status Check on Shows in TV Purgatory

Television is a fast-paced business, where a show can be written, developed, ordered, cast, produced, and aired all within the course of a year. But sometimes, executives get ahead of themselves and shows are announced prematurely, or circumstances change, forcing delay.

IndieWire combed through some high-profile TV announcements from the past few years that haven’t yet seen the light of day, and asked their status. Some are still in the works; some are still “in development,” which could be code for “we don’t want to admit yet that this show is dead”; and some have quietly faded away.

Read More: M. Night Shyamalan Is Bringing Back ‘Tales From the Crypt’ at TNT

“Tales from the Crypt” (TNT)

TNT announced an ambitious new “Tales from the Crypt”-branded horror block executive produced by M. Night Shyamalan last year, including a 10-episode order of the anthology series, “guided by a newly reinvented Crypt Keeper.
See full article at Indiewire Television »

‘Outsiders’ Canceled After Two Seasons on WGN America

‘Outsiders’ Canceled After Two Seasons on WGN America
Outsiders” has been canceled after two seasons at WGN America, Variety has learned.

The drama series follows the exploits of the Farrell clan, a Kentucky family that has lived atop Shay Mountain for over 200 years. But their off-the-grid way of life is threatened when a coal company decides to strip mine the mountain, leading to serious confrontations between the Farrells and the world below.

Peter Kern, interim president and CEO of Tribune Media issued the following statement on the series:

“After three years of investing in marquee, brand-defining dramas, WGN America has successfully expanded its audience, its reach, and its presence in the minds of viewers. In our next phase, we intend to expand our original and unique content to continue growing our relevance and appeal to the widest possible audience. To achieve this, we will be reallocating our resources to a more diverse programming strategy and to new structures, enabling
See full article at Variety - TV News »

Tribune Media Kills National News Video Site Ahead of Launch, Reorgs Digital Group

Tribune Media abruptly shut down a national digital news service — which would have included content aggregated from its 42 local TV stations — less than two weeks before it was slated to launch as part of a broad restructuring of its digital operations.

Tribune’s move to kill the digital news project was first reported by Politico. The company also has scrapped plans to resurrect Television Without Pity, the snark-laden site previously owned by NBCUniversal, and laid off the staff of the Screener entertainment news site.

The new Tribune Media digital news product was previously scheduled to debut on Tribune.com on April 25, before the company decided to pull back on its digital efforts. The nationwide news initiative had been headed by Gm Steven Belser, a member of the founding team at NowThis Media and former head of production at Vice Media, who joined Tribune Media in March 2016. For the new site, Tribune Media
See full article at Variety - TV News »

Sony Pictures CEO Search Sows Uncertainty Across the Lot

Just when it seemed like things were finally settling down for Sony Pictures Entertainment, a new wave of uncertainty washed over the Culver City lot this month with the news that CEO Michael Lynton would step down later in the year.

Lynton’s departure was not a shock to studio insiders, but there was surprise initially over the timing of the Jan. 13 announcement. Sony Corp. has said it will search for a successor while Lynton remains at the helm as co-ceo. Kaz Hirai, the Tokyo-based CEO of the electronics conglom, is heading to Culver City next week to take the reins with Lynton. He’s setting up a temporary office at the studio to oversee a thorough vetting of candidates and what is expected to be an equally thorough review of the studio’s operations.

The urgency in that process was magnified by Monday’s disclosure that Sony will take a whopping $962 million write-down of goodwill on
See full article at Variety - TV News »

Did Donald Trump And Sony Play A Role In Peter Liguori’s Decision To Leave Tribune?

The timing of Peter Liguori’s announcement this morning about his plan to leave Tribune Media might be a surprise. But the development shouldn’t be. Tribune has been open for a sale for nearly a year and will find it much easier to secure a buyer with the Trump administration now in charge of communications policy. Some people close to Liguori say that the exec who helped to turn FX into a success for Fox and helped Discovery launch its Own partnership with Oprah Winfrey
See full article at Deadline TV »

Tribune Media CEO Peter Liguori to Step Down

  • The Wrap
Tribune Media CEO Peter Liguori to Step Down
Tribune Media president and chief executive officer Peter Liguori will step down following the company’s 2016 fourth quarter and full-year earnings release, expected to occur during the first week of March, the company announced on Wednesday. “Following the successful completion of several financial, strategic and creative initiatives, culminating in the pending sale of Gracenote, Tribune Media is well advanced in its transformation to a more focused broadcast and cable networks company,” Liguori said in a statement. “I believe that now is the ideal time for a new leader to steer today’s Tribune. As curious and excited as I am about.
See full article at The Wrap »

Peter Liguori To Step Down As Tribune Media CEO

Tribune Media CEO Peter Liguori said this morning that he will step down in March, ending the effort he began four years ago to take a publishing and TV company that had just emerged from bankruptcy protection and turn it into what he initially called a “165-year-old startup” built on TV production and distribution. Liguori will leave his position, and the Tribune board, after it releases its Q4 earnings, expected in the first week of March. The board has hired search…
See full article at Deadline TV »

Peter Liguori to Exit as CEO of Tribune Media

Peter Liguori to Exit as CEO of Tribune Media
Peter Liguori will step down as president and CEO of Tribune Media in March, the company said Wednesday.

Liguori, the former head of entertainment at Fox and FX, joined Tribune as president and CEO in January 2013, after the completion of its four-year bankruptcy reorganization. He has been rumored as a candidate to succeed Michael Lynton as CEO of Sony Corp.’s Hollywood operations.

“I believe that now is the ideal time for a new leader to steer today’s Tribune. As curious and excited as I am about pursuing new opportunities, I am equally grateful for the achievements, commitment and integrity of this company’s management team and its dedicated employees,” Liguori said.

During his tenure at the helm, the Chicago-based newspaper and TV station owner was transformed into a broadcast and entertainment-focused company. Liguori led the spinoff of its newspaper division into a separate company now known as Tronc. He
See full article at Variety - TV News »

Michael Lynton Exits Sony Pictures Entertainment to Become Chair of Snapchat

Updated: Sony Pictures Entertainment Chairman and CEO Michael Lynton announced Friday that he is stepping down from the entertainment conglomerate to focus his attention on his chairmanship of Snap, Inc., the social media owner of Snapchat in which he has a major investment.

Lynton is leaving his post atop the conglomerate’s motion picture, television and music units but will remain on as co-ceo for six months to help lead a search for his replacement. The announcement of the departure said Sony Corporation CEO Kazuo Hirai will focus with Lynton on the search for a new leader, with the Japanese businessman taking on a much higher profile in the operation. He will serve alongside Lynton as co-ceo of Sony Pictures Entertainment and open a second office for himself on the Culver City lot.

Among those rumored to be in line for Lynton’s post: DreamWorks Animation founder and former CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, Tribune
See full article at Variety - TV News »

Michael Lynton Exits Sony Pictures Entertainment to Become Chair of Snapchat

Michael Lynton Exits Sony Pictures Entertainment to Become Chair of Snapchat
Updated: Sony Pictures Entertainment Chairman and CEO Michael Lynton announced Friday that he is stepping down from the entertainment conglomerate to focus his attention on his chairmanship of Snapchat, the social media company in which he has a major investment.

Lynton is leaving his post atop the conglomerate’s motion picture, television and music units but will remain on as co-ceo for six months to help lead a search for his replacement. The announcement of the departure said Sony Corporation CEO Kazuo Hirai will focus with Lynton on the search for a new leader, with the Japanese businessman taking on a much higher profile in the operation, including the opening of a second office for him on the Culver City lot.

Among those rumored to be in line for Lynton’s post: DreamWorks Animation founder and former CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, Tribune Media president and CEO Peter Liguori and Jim Gianopulos,
See full article at Variety - Film News »
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