Home >Companies >News >AMC Networks CEO Josh Sapan steps down after 26-year run

AMC Networks Inc. Chief Executive Josh Sapan is stepping down, the company said Tuesday, capping a 26-year run during which he shepherded hits including “Mad Men" and “The Walking Dead" and masterminded the company’s foray into video streaming.

Mr. Sapan, 70, will be replaced in the interim by Matthew Blank, the former chairman of Showtime Networks and a senior adviser at the Raine Group, a merchant bank. The company said it would conduct a search for a permanent replacement for Mr. Sapan.

Mr. Sapan will become executive vice chairman of AMC Networks, advising the company on its video-streaming efforts.

He helped transform AMC Networks from a sleepy network known for airing classic movies into a TV tastemaker that took risks on critically acclaimed shows. On his watch, the company greenlighted “Mad Men," “Breaking Bad" and “The Walking Dead," which helped define the rise of prestige television.

Mr. Sapan is stepping aside from AMC during a period of upheaval for the media industry. The rise of video-streaming services such as Netflix Inc. and Inc.’s Prime Video has pressured the traditional TV business, which for decades relied on ever-increasing growth in advertising and subscription revenue.

He has launched niche streaming services to feature AMC’s programming. Rather than offering a broad array of TV shows and movies, AMC is focusing on narrower audiences with targeted services such as Shudder for horror movie fans and Acorn TV for programming from the U.K.

AMC Networks shares fell slightly Tuesday morning. The stock has risen by more than one-third for the year. AMC Networks is unrelated to the AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. theater chain.

AMC Networks is controlled by James Dolan and his family, which also owns Madison Square Garden Entertainment. For years, AMC Networks has been viewed as a possible takeover target given its size compared with its competitors, but a deal hasn’t materialized.

The company said it expects to have 9 million subscribers to its streaming services by the end of 2021. By comparison, Netflix has 209 million subscribers and AT&T Inc.’s WarnerMedia has 67.5 million subscribers world-wide across its HBO Max streaming service and the HBO cable channel.

AMC Networks has grown its earnings despite the headwinds facing the traditional media sector. The company said profits rose 11.2% to $250.6 million in the second quarter from a year earlier.

In July, the company said it agreed to pay $200 million to settle a legal battle with “Walking Dead" creator Frank Darabont over profits from the show.


This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text

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