Epix president Michael Wright has been tapped to succeed Steve Stark at MGM as the studio’s head of scripted television. The news follows the departure of Stark, who is exiting the studio after a decade and transitioning to a producing deal, as Variety reported exclusively Tuesday.
In this position, Wright will oversee MGM Scripted Television’s development and production of scripted programming, while continuing to oversee all aspects of premium cable network Epix, from growing its original programming slate and distribution to leading creative and marketing.
“Michael is an extremely talented and experienced television executive who I am grateful to have known and worked with for over two decades,” said MGM Worldwide Television Group chairman Mark Burnett. “He is the ideal decisive leader to steer MGM Scripted TV into achieving our full potential both creatively and financially. A long-time champion of premiere talent, his expertise is perfectly aligned with our goals of taking MGM Television to the next level.”
Wright replaces Stark at a time when MGM is largely acknowledged to be a takeover target, months after reports emerged that the studio was exploring a possible sale. Stark, known for championing Hulu hit “The Handmaid’s Tale” and other series, had been with MGM since 2011, and will continue to be heavily involved with the studio as a producer on those shows. Epix Studios has wrapped production so far on two series, Ed Burns’ “Bridge and Tunnel” and Adrien Brody and Emily Hampshire starrer “Chapelwaite.”
With Wright at the helm of Epix, the network has rebranded and transitioned the platform from a movieplex service to a platform with theatrical content, originals and more recently, original films. Wright oversaw the launch of Epix’s streaming service, doubling subscribers, and formed Epix Studios to produce original series for the service. Before his time at Epix, Wright was CEO of Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks Pictures and Amblin Partners (he helped launch Amblin in 2015). Prior to that, he led TBS, TNT and Turner Classic Movies and head of programming there.
“The last few years have been very exciting for Epix, growing our awareness and subscribers, premiering critically-acclaimed programming from remarkable talent, becoming ubiquitously available with Epix Now,” said Wright. “Through it all, the team at MGM have been incredibly supportive partners. In this new role, I’m excited to continue that journey. while also working with Mark Burnett and his talented team to grow the footprint of MGM Television and its legacy brand.”