Eric Frankel leaves WBTV post

Ken Werner to preside over expanded unit

Warner Bros. TV cable distribution prexy Eric Frankel — the man who helped engineer blockbuster TV rights deals for the “Harry Potter” pics, among others — is leaving the studio as part of a restructuring that will see WBTV’s cable and syndication distribution blended into one unit.

Ken Werner, currently head of Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution, will stay on as prexy of the newly expanded unit. Warners execs decided it just didn’t make sense to have its movies and TV shows sold by separate divisions.

Insiders said the consolidation won’t result in wide layoffs, because research, marketing and publicity departments are already shared by various divisions of the TV group.”In the last few years, the markets served by our two divisions have evolved into one marketplace,” said WBTV Group prexy Bruce Rosenblum. “It is clear that having two domestic distribution units in an environment of blended distribution windows is neither financially prudent nor strategically smart. Having one operation represent our product to syndicated, cable and satellite buyers domestically will help us to better serve these clients, be more nimble and responsive in the marketplace and heighten our competitive advantage.”

Warner Bros. Domestic TV Distribution named Werner president in August 2006. He supervised the successful syndication launch of the weekly firstrun series “TMZ” and has ridden herd on the 90% clearance of a rookie series for 2008-09, “The Bonnie Hunt Show.” Werner also drew up the syndie blueprint for multiyear renewals of “The Tyra Banks Show,” “Extra” and “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”

Frankel joined Warner Bros. TV 28 years ago in New York as the protege of Ed Bleier, one of the noted veterans in theatrical-movie distribution to cable. When Bleier retired, Warners transferred Frankel to Los Angeles, where he scored big-bucks deals with cable networks for such series as “ER,” “The West Wing,” “Two and a Half Men,” “Friends,” “Without a Trace” and “Cold Case.”