How Amblin TV’s Success Led Spielberg to His New DreamWorks CEO

Steven Spielberg’s Amblin TV is the little engine that could, a tiny operation that has almost as many shows on the air as it has full-time employees.

Amblin’s success at TNT in particular led Spielberg to recruit Michael Wright, who just left his post as head of programming for TNT, TBS and TCM, to replace Stacey Snider as DreamWorks’ CEO.

SEE ALSO: Michael Wright Named CEO of DreamWorks

Wright is an unconventional choice, given his lack of film experience, but Spielberg’s bet on the TV vet is a sign of how much Wright impressed the DreamWorks mogul in working with him over the years on various DreamWorks TV/Amblin TV projects. Wright’s championing of DreamWorks TV’s 2005 epic Western miniseries “Into the West” was a bonding moment for the exec with Spielberg and his TV team.

Despite his background, however, Wright’s focus at DreamWorks will be strictly on managing the movie operation, just as Snider had no formal oversight of TV either. Amblin TV is a wholly separate entity, privately held by Spielberg, that has no financial ties to Indian conglom Reliance, which is DreamWorks’ primary backer. In fact, Spielberg writes the checks to fund Amblin’s development himself since he split the TV company (previously known as DreamWorks TV) off from DreamWorks a few years ago.

SEE ALSO: Steven Spielberg: Tackling TV on His Own Terms

Amblin TV, headed by Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank, has been on a roll in the past few years. The banner is in the midst of shopping a series based on Spielberg’s 2002 feature “Minority Report.” It’s about a get an order for a drama pilot, “Lumen,” at TNT and a deal with Showtime for the long-gestating “Halo” TV series adaption is said to be heating up.

At TNT, Amblin scored with sci-fi drama “Falling Skies,” and it has a period crimer, “Public Morals,” on deck to premiere next year. Fox is cueing up “Red Band Society” for the fall, while ABC has “Whisperer.” Amblin was the source of CBS’ two summer dramas, “Under the Dome” and Halle Berry starrer “Extant.” At FX, Amblin has the stylish espionage thriller “The Americans.”

Amblin is also working with HBO on adapting Bryan Cranston’s Tony-winning Broadway turn as President Lyndon Johnson in “All the Way” into a special for the pay cabler.

(Pictured: Steven Spielberg on the set of “Falling Skies” with stars Drew Roy and Noah Wyle.)

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