×

WarnerMedia Setting Interim Leadership Team After Kevin Tsujihara Ouster (EXCLUSIVE)

An interim leadership team will take the reins at Warner Bros. Entertainment following the shocking dismissal of CEO Kevin Tsujihara on Monday.

The team will likely consist of Warner Bros. motion pictures group chairman Toby Emmerich, Warner Bros. television group president and CCO Peter Roth, and at least one other top executive, individuals familiar with the company told Variety. It appears likely that the leadership group will include at least one female executive.

WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey is currently heading from corporate headquarters in New York to Los Angeles and on Tuesday is expected to formally announce the interim leadership team, according to multiple sources. WarnerMedia had no immediate comment on leadership and as of right now there is no town hall meeting scheduled with the staff.

The interim team of executives will handle day-to-day operations until a replacement is found for Tsujihara, whose departure was announced on Monday morning by Stankey following accusations of sexual impropriety against the former entertainment chief. Tsujihara alleged used his position to secure auditions for Charlotte Kirk, an actress with whom he had a sexual relationship.

An eerie silence has blanketed the Burbank, Calif. lot, insiders said, as staff reels from Stankey’s swift decision. Some executives teared up over Tsujihara’s exit and are anxious about what a new leader will mean for their futures. Many had expected that Tsujihara would be able to survive the scandal and think that his ouster is a sign that AT&T, the telephone giant that bought Warner Bros.’ parent company Time Warner in 2018, has no tolerance for Tsujihara’s actions. Some felt that Time Warner, known for its “boys club” atmosphere, would have looked the other way. However, there was a growing sense that Tsujihara could not continue to head the company without his personal issues becoming a distraction.

Popular on Variety

Stankey, AT&T’s envoy to the entertainment business, and Tsujihara were also believed to have strong personal chemistry. They appeared comfortable and relaxed with one another at a town hall shortly after AT&T took the reins and at December’s “Aquaman” premiere and after-party in Hollywood.

Tsujihara began negotiating his exit last week, sources confirmed, and Stankey and Tsujihara reached out to top staffers over the weekend to prepare them for the news. Stankey is now said to be compiling a shortlist of potential replacements for Tsujihara that many believe includes former 20th Century Fox Film chairman Stacey Snider and possibly others with deeper digital backgrounds.

WarnerMedia will continues to investigate the events surrounding Tsujihara, which involve Kirk, a supporting player in “Ocean’s 8.” While she admitted to a consensual relationship with Tsujihara, Kirk denied she was at all victimized by the former CEO.

“Kevin acknowledges that his mistakes are inconsistent with the company’s leadership expectations and could impact the Company’s ability to execute going forward,” Stankey said in his statement.

Tsujihara had headed the studio since early 2013. He has been with Warner Bros. since 1994, starting out in business development and rising through the ranks in home entertainment.

More Film

  • Father

    'Father': Film Review

    “Father” begins with a mother. Dragging her two sullen, uncomprehending kids along with her, Biljana (Nada Šargin) strides onto the grounds of the factory from which her husband was let go more than a year before and harangues the foreman about the severance package they still have not received. The children are hungry, she wails, [...]

  • Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm

    'Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street': Film Review

    In 1985, New Line rushed out a sequel to its breakout horror hit of the prior year. But while commercially successful enough, “A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge” was initially disliked by mainstream horror fans, then later won cult status, for the same reason: It struck many as “the gayest horror film of [...]

  • Leaving Neverland HBO

    HBO Seeks Dismissal of Michael Jackson Estate's Suit Over 'Leaving Neverland'

    HBO urged an appeals court on Friday to throw out litigation brought by the Michael Jackson estate over the 2019 documentary “Leaving Neverland.” HBO and the Jackson estate have been locked in a legal war ever since the premium cable network agreed to run the documentary, which chronicles child sexual abuse allegations against Jackson. The [...]

  • Denzel Washington

    Film News Roundup: Denzel Washington-Rami Malek Thriller Set for Early 2021 Release

    In today’s film news roundup, a Denzel Washington-Rami Malek thriller gets a release date, “Escape Room 2” gets moved, Paramount sets a double feature, “So Cold the River” wraps and the Sonoma Film Festival unveils its lineup. RELEASE DATES Warner Bros. has set the Denzel Washington-Rami Malek police thriller “The Little Things” for a Jan. 29, [...]

  • WGA Agents Contract Tug of War

    Writers Guild Says It Helped Negotiate 100 Deals for Agent-Less Members

    The Writers Guild of America has asserted that it has assisted in negotiating more than 100 deals in recent months for members without agents. The missive from the WGA West board of directors comes nearly a year after the guild leaders ordered their 15,000 members to fire their agents if the agents had not agreed [...]

  • the jesus rolls

    Émilie Simon Contributes Flamenco/Gypsy Vibe to John Turturro's ‘The Jesus Rolls’

    For French musician Émilie Simon, the flamenco-meets-gypsy vibe writer-director John Turturro was seeking for the soundtrack to his movie “The Jesus Rolls” turned out to be in her musical and genetical DNA. “This music originally comes from where I grew up in the south of France,” says the 41-year-old electronic musician, who has released five [...]

  • My Hero Academia Heroes Rising

    'My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising' ADR Director on Adapting the Anime for a U.S. Audience

    “My Hero Academia” has officially Detroit Smashed into North American theaters. Sony Pictures Television’s Funimation released “Heroes Rising” in the U.S. on Wednesday, grossing $2.5 million on its opening day. Theaters are showing the film, a standalone entry in the popular superhero anime based on the manga, with options for either subtitles or with an [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content