Christina Spade, a veteran media executive who was previously chief financial officer of the former ViacomCBS, has been named the new chief executive of AMC Networks, tasked with leading the small but influential media company through a tricky time in the media business.
She replaces Matt Blank, a Showtime veteran who had been serving as the company’s interim CEO, and will assumer her new responsibilities on Sept. 9.
“I’m delighted that Chris is taking over as our new CEO,” said James Dolan, AMC Networks’ chairman, in a statement. “She is a proven leader with a long track record driving transformative change in media and entertainment and I am confident she has the expertise and vision to guide AMC Networks to greater success.” Patrick O’Connell, previously a senior executive at CBS Corporation and Goldman Sachs, has been named the company’s new executive vice president, a d chief financial officer, and will report to Spade.
Spade will take up the company’s reins as it has been working to ramp up its broadband and streaming activities. While best known for premium TV dramas like “Better Call Saul” and “The Walking Dead,” AMC Networks has been diligently launching broadband businesses in past months. Its streaming portfolio includes AMC+ and venues aimed at specific audience niches including Acorn TV, ALLBLK, HIDIVE, Shudder and Sundance Now. The company says it has 10.8 million paying subscribers and believes it is on track to reach 20 million to 25 million subscribers in 2025. A
AMC Networks is also in the midst of launching a new spate of programs as it casts about for a successor to some of its best known series. “Better Call Saul” is in the midst of its final few episodes and “The Walking Dead,” while growing into a portfolio of related programs, is aging, though popular actors Andrew Lincoln and Danai Gurira. are slated to return in a spin off. AMC is launching a TV series based on author Anne Rice’s popular “Interview With the Vampire,” and has hopes for series such as “Moonhaven” and “Dark Winds.”
AMC Networks has been under interim leadership for about a year, with Blank filling duties long handled by Josh Sapan. Sapan last August ceded his CEO responsibilities after a quarter century working for the company.
Spade joined AMC Networks in January 2021 as executive vice president and CFO, and was given the added duties of chief operating officer in November of last year. She has supervised key businesses, financial operations, investor relations and global technology. Before taking the CFO role at ViacomCBS, she had similar duties at the former CBS Corp,, and, prior to that, at its Showtime pay-cable unit, capping off a 21-year run there. Before joining Showtime Networks, Spade was an audit manager with PricewaterhouseCoopers in its entertainment, media and communications practice.
AMC Networks on Friday reported net income of $83.4 million, or $1.91 per share. Adjusted for amortization costs, earnings came to $2.06 per share. Revenue fell 4% to $738 million. The company cited factors including lower revenues from advertising and distribution as factors behind the year over year shortfall.