WB Shakeup: Rosenblum Exiting, Roth, Hunegs, Schlesinger to Rise

Longtime TV group leader's departure was expected after he lost CEO job to Kevin Tsujihara

Warner Bros.’ television operations are in for a major management overhaul as longtime TV group topper Bruce Rosenblum is poised to exit the studio he has called home for more than 20 years.

The news of Rosenblum’s departure had been expected for months, even since he was passed over for the top CEO job on the Warners lot, which went to former homvid/digital chief Kevin Tsujihara.

In the exec overhaul to come, Rosenblum deputy Craig Hunegs, exec veep of the TV Group and a biz affairs vet, is expected to take on many of the duties previously handled by his boss. Longtime Warner Bros. TV prexy Peter Roth, the creative steward of the studio’s prosperous primetime production unit, is now expected to report directly to Tsujihara, as is longtime WB TV International chief Jeffrey Schlesinger.

News of the shakeup to come on the Burbank lot was reported Saturday night by Deadline. Rosenblum declined comment Saturday night. In a statement Sunday, WB would only say that it does not “comment on rumors, speculation or personnel matters.”

Rosenblum by many accounts had let friends and colleagues know that he was planning to move on after the end of the all-important pilot selling season, which culminates during the next week with the broadcast network upfront presentations in Gotham, which kick off Monday with NBC and Fox. Rosenblum had been skedded to attend some of this week’s upfront events but sources said it was unclear if he would still make the trip.

Many on the lot knew that Rosenblum’s departure was a matter of time. It’s a testament to their respect for the exec that rumors and speculation about the future were kept to a minimum. But it’s understood that top execs have quietly been anxious for some time given the sense of limbo for the TV wing after Tsujihara got the nod in late January. He took the CEO baton from Barry Meyer on March 1.

Although Roth, Hunegs and Schlesinger are highly regarded studio vets, the lack of a clear successor raises big questions for the management of the studio’s biggest profit-generating divisions. Tsujihara has less experience in TV than in other areas of WB operations. Having multiple direct reports could well be overwhelming as he’s not even six months into his tenure as CEO. In this scenario, Tsujihara’s predecessor, Barry Meyer, is likely to play an even more vital role. Meyer remains chairman of the studio through year’s end.

Rosenblum came to the Burbank lot in 1989 as part of the studio’s acquisition of Lorimar Telepictures. At present he also serves as chairman-CEO of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Rosenblum was one of the trio of WB execs who vied to succeed Meyer during a nearly three-year bakeoff process that led to much turmoil on the usually tranquil WB lot. He had been seen as the frontrunner for the CEO job, but in the end Time Warner topper Jeff Bewkes decided that Tsujihara’s skill set in the digital realm was a better fit to lead the studio into its next century. It’s also no secret that Tsujihara had a stronger overall relationship with Bewkes.

Friends and colleagues have quietly speculated in recent weeks that Rosenblum would seek a new exec post at a media company or try an entrepreneurial venture. He’s not seen as the type to set up a production pact, as so many former TV honchos have done.

More TV


    SAG-AFTRA Ends Long Strike Against Ad Agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty

    SAG-AFTRA has ended its 10-month strike against Bartle Bogle Hegarty after the advertising agency agreed to sign the union’s new commercials contract. The union instructed its 160,000 members in September not to accept any work for BBH, which had been signed to SAG-AFTRA’s commercials contracts since 1999. The strike came two weeks after BBH publicly [...]

  • Brazilian President Jair Bolosnaro attends the

    Bolsonaro Threatens Brazil’s Central Film Fund with Censorship or Closure

    In typical shoot-from-the-hip remarks, Brazil’s far-right president Jair Bolsonaro has declared that Ancine, Brazil’s powerful state-backed federal film agency, should accept “filters”or face closure. “If it can’t have a filter, we’ll close Ancine, or privatize it,” Bolsonaro added, attacking Ancine, which plows some $300 million a year into Brazil’s film and TV industries, for supporting [...]

  • Variety Cord Cutting Placeholder Cable

    CBS Stations Go Dark on AT&T's DirecTV, U-verse Platforms Amid Contract Battle

    CBS’ 28 O&O stations are going dark for about 6.6 million subscribers of AT&T’s DirecTV and U-verse platforms as the Eye and AT&T battle over a new retransmission consent contract. The blackout affects CBS and CW-affiliated stations in 14 major markets including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. Also off the air are the CBS [...]

  • Orlando Bloom Comic Con Immigrant San

    Orlando Bloom Claims San Diego Mayor Ran From Comic-Con Exhibit Featuring Immigrant Characters

    Did an immigration storyline cause Republican San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer to run out of Amazon Prime Video’s Comic-Con activation this week? According to “Carnival Row” star Orlando Bloom, that’s exactly what happened. At Amazon’s “Carnival Row” panel, Bloom told the audience that Faulconer stopped by the Prime Video activation and chose the “Carnival Row” [...]

  • 'Game of Thrones' Cast Calls Final

    'Game of Thrones' Cast Calls Final Season Backlash 'Media-Led Hate Campaign'

    What is life like now after “Game of Thrones?” That’s the question that fans have been asking themselves and that cast members had to answer at the show’s final Comic-Con panel. But first, Conleth Hill, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and several others cleared the air and addressed the perceived negative response to the final season. “I don’t [...]

  • SDCC Roundup: AMC Drops 'The Walking

    SDCC TV News Roundup: AMC Releases 'The Walking Dead' Season 10 Trailer (Watch)

    San Diego Comic-Con has become a hotbed of entertainment news in recent years, especially for the television industry. In today’s SDCC TV news roundup, AMC dropped a trailer for the 10th season of “The Walking Dead” and FX released a first look at “Mayans MC” Season 2. FIRST LOOKS AMC debuted the trailer for Season [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content