Ken Werner will retire from his post as president of Warner Domestic Television Distribution at year’s end.
The veteran sales and distribution executive has headed Warner Bros.’ domestic TV sales efforts across broadcast, cable and streaming platforms since 2006. Before that, he spent nine years as head of the WB Network’s distribution team. In that role he helped shift network TV economics with the advent of reverse compensation paid by affiliates to the WB, which is now the industry standard for the Big Four nets. And Werner was a big part of the team that created the CW out of the merger of the WB and UPN.
Werner is known as a keen strategist who made the most of his market timing of big-ticket syndication sales like “The Big Bang Theory” and “The Mentalist.” He shoveled a huge amount of earnings to the erstwhile Time Warner’s bottom line with savvy packaging of library TV series and movie packages as the SVOD licensing gold rush began a few years ago.
“I have had a charmed career; fortunate to work at leading companies, along-side immensely talented colleagues, representing the most compelling content in a business that is always changing,” Werner said. “I leave Warner Bros. with great pride in what my teams have accomplished, beginning with building the distribution foundation for the fifth broadcast network (The WB) through to the last seven years as we asserted a leadership role in developing the on-demand marketplace with precedent-setting innovative deals. I am extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to represent the greatest TV and motion picture library in the world and am forever indebted to my WBDTD team, the larger Warner Bros. family, clients, competitors, friends and my family.”
Werner’s successor is set to be named soon. There’s expected to be a significant generational shift among Warner Bros.’ senior management ranks in the coming year as the studio settles into the AT&T ownership era.
“Ken has led our domestic television distribution business with great success to many record-setting years,” said Jeffrey Schlesinger, president of Warner Bros. Worldwide Television Distribution. “He and his team are industry leaders and have achieved these results with hard work, great salesmanship and innovation.”
A lawyer by training, Werner worked in business affairs for Viacom and Columbia Pictures Television early in his career. He spent eight years at Walt Disney Television and also worked in business development at CBS before joining the WB in 1997.