Sarah Barnett is stepping down from her role as president of AMC Networks Entertainment Group president.
A television veteran who has been with company for more than a decade, Barnett will stay on in her current role through Labor Day. No immediate successor for her position is in place. In the interim, AMC Networks COO Ed Carroll will oversee the company’s entertainment networks. Dan McDermott, president of original programming and co-president, AMC Studios, will take a lead role in content for the entertainment group in the wake of Barnett’s departure.
From her position, Barnett oversaw AMC Networks’ suite of cable channels and offshoot digital platforms, including AMC, BBC America, IFC and Sundance TV — as well as production operation AMC Studios.
“This is a year that has confronted us with radical change on multiple fronts,” said Barnett. “After a lot of consideration – and with a slightly breaking heart – I have decided that it is the right time for me to follow my curiosity and leave things in the very capable hands of the outstanding team at AMC Networks. Shaping stories and connecting them to audiences alongside brilliant people inside and outside of this company has been a unique joy and privilege for the past 11 years. Ed Carroll and Josh Sapan gave me many rich opportunities to build great brands and take creative risks in the pursuit of exciting television, I am so thankful to them for that. I leave with gratitude and huge affection for all my AMC Networks colleagues who will continue to make and do great things.”
It’s not yet known where Barnett’s next career steps might lead. A highly regarded executive, Barnett joined AMC Networks in 2008 when it bought Sundance TV — at the time, Sundance Channel — where she headed marketing. Shortly after the acquisition, Barnett was named head of the channel, overseeing its initial push into original programming. From there she rose through the company’s ranks, taking charge of BBC America, and eventually the flagship AMC network and all of the company’s cable channels as well as its studio operations. In her tenure, she worked on multiple landmark shows, including “Rectify,” “The Honourable Woman,” “Top of the Lake,” “Orphan Black” and “Killing Eve.” A U.K. native, she previously spent 12 years working for the BBC.
“Sarah came to AMC Networks more than a decade ago, when we acquired Sundance Channel,” said Carroll. “She immediately put her stamp on Sundance with fresh, impactful storytelling like ‘Rectify’ and ‘Top of the Lake’ which continued when she took the reins of BBC America, growing ‘Orphan Black,’ the network’s natural history franchises and developing the critical and audience hit ‘Killing Eve.’ At AMC, she expanded the growing franchise of ‘The Walking Dead’ while greenlighting new shows including ‘Kevin Can F*** Himself’ and ’61st Street,’ and she built a strong team to meet the shifting nature of our business. Sarah is one of the most versatile executives I have had the pleasure of working with – expert at programming, branding and team building, all with an eye toward the business of a rapidly changing entertainment landscape. She is also a truly progressive leader. We will miss her at AMC Networks.”