Amazon settled on a new corporate structure, placing most of MGM under Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke and promoting MGM veteran Chris Breton.
Salke oversees all scripted TV and film, distribution and marketing for MGM. Breton oversees MGM’s unscripted TV, MGM+ streaming service and holds the role of VP of corporate strategy for Prime Video and Studios. Salke and Breton will both report to Mike Hopkins, senior vice president of Amazon Prime Video, Amazon Studios and MGM.
The moves come after months of speculation about how MGM would integrate into Amazon’s orbit. Hopkins confirmed the new hierarchy in a memo to employees late Tuesday.
“Jane’s outstanding reputation in the creative community has earned her the respect of Hollywood’s top talent in the industry,” he wrote. “Jane will now control both studios — along with distribution and all creative marketing — creators will have a single entry point for opportunities to showcase their content across all of our platforms. Serving the creative community in this way will simplify and enhance the creative process, expand our growing content stable, and further Jaen’s commitment to being a home of talent.” It strengthens.
Amazon closed the deal to buy MGM for $8.5 billion in March. The studio’s film leadership team of Michael De Luca and Pam Abdi left weeks after the transaction. Prominent producer Mark Burnett, who ran MGM TV and paved the way for a transition with Salke and Breton, confirmed his departure on Monday.
Salk plans to hire a film executive to lead feature development and production. Julie Rappaport, who became Amazon’s sole head of film in March, will remain in that role and “will support the MGM Films team as we continue to integrate,” Salke wrote in a memo. Among other changes, Warner Bros. veteran Sue Kroll, who was hired last month to lead marketing for Amazon Studios, will also take over TV and film marketing for MGM. Vernon Sanders, who oversees Amazon TV, will add oversight of MGM Scripted TV.
Salke hinted that he will be interviewed for a long time Difference Cover story last month. In addition to serving Amazon’s growing platforms, including ad-supported FreeVee and MGM+ (formerly known as Epix, premium cable), MGM is expected to continue producing content for foreign buyers.
Brearton joined MGM in 2018 after years representing the studio as an attorney with Latham & Watkins. Salke has been at the helm of Amazon Studios since 2018.
Here are the full notes from Mike Hopkins, Jen Salke and Chris Brearton on Tuesday night:
When we acquired MGM nearly nine months ago, we said we would take a deliberate and measured approach to the integration process. It was important to take the time to ensure the right people were in the right jobs for maximum collaboration, creativity and innovation. During this time, we have taken many important decisions, and now we have completed the important work of establishing our organizational structure. Jennifer Salke will head Amazon and MMM Studios, including oversight of MGM’s scripted television and film, distribution and creative marketing. Additionally, I’d like to welcome Chris Brearton, who will take on a new role, VP, PVS Corporate Strategy, MGM+ and MGM Alternative Television.
Jane’s outstanding reputation in the creative community has allowed her to gain access to Hollywood’s top talent in the industry. Jane will now oversee both studios – along with distribution and all creative marketing – so creators will have a single point of entry to showcase their content across all our platforms. Serving the creative community in this way simplifies and enhances the creative process, expands our growing content stable, and reinforces Jane’s commitment to being a home of talent.
Chris Breton is running MGM’s business and leading the merger into Prime Video and Amazon Studios. In his new role, he will lead business planning and corporate strategy for PVS. He will also oversee MGM+ and MGM Alternative, responsible for accelerating the rebranding and leading the growth of MGM+’s premium service, as well as working closely with the experienced MGM unscripted television team to continue the legacy of megahits such as Survivor, Shark Tank and The Voice. Breton will report to me and join my senior management team, effective immediately.
I appreciate all the work on this merger and believe we are now in a better position to deliver on our great vision with great leaders at the helm. In the process, you continue to deliver the best entertainment to customers around the world. We released three MGM film titles Direct to Stream (DTS) on PV including Thirteen Lives, Anything Is Possible and Samaritan and the highly acclaimed Till and Bone and all theatrical releases. We partnered to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the 007 franchise in October 2022.
In the coming weeks we have new quality tales to bring to our customers with Girls Talking, Boys in the Boat and Creed III. In addition to the launch, we did Roadhouse with Jake Gyllenhaal and The Underdogs with Snoop Dogg. In partnership with MGM Television, we greenlit and began production on The Shelter (based on the epic thriller novel by Harlan Coben), The Consultant (starring Christoph Waltz) and A Road to a Million (a reality competition series featuring local 007 films).
I’m so appreciative of all the work you’ve done together this year, and I look forward to all we can do together as we build the next rich legacy of amazing content. You will soon hear from Jen and Chris about their vision and purpose for their companies. Thank you all for your patience and commitment throughout this process.
Here is Salke’s note:
Mike, I shared some news about our organizational structure, and I wanted to say how proud I am to be named the head of Amazon and MGM Studios. It is a privilege to lead a team of very talented people. We have such an exciting opportunity ahead of us as we continue to build our best-in-class studios and entertain more people around the world.
I have some news to share with my leadership team with additional oversight of MGM’s scripted television and film, distribution and creative marketing. Vernon Sanders will continue to run Amazon Television and will now oversee MGM Television, a scripted series with Lindsay Sloane and Rola Bauer. Julie Rappaport will continue to run the AOM team as well as overseeing the MGM film team. Dan Scharf oversees MGM’s BA and commercial operations as well as recording, music and production. Newly appointed head of marketing for Amazon Studios, Sue Kroll, will add MGM to her portfolio, and MGM chief marketing officer Stephen Bruno will now report to her. Brad Beale’s content licensing portfolio now includes MGM, with MGM’s head of global distribution and acquisitions, Chris Oettinger, now reporting to Brad. And Eric Loomis, head of theatrical distribution at United Artists Releasing, reports directly to me. I want to thank you all for your patience as we integrate the talented teams at MGM. And we’ll have more announcements to share over the next few months.
These are changing times for all of us in the entertainment industry. And here at Amazon and MGM Studios, we have the best leaders, creators and talent in the business. I am proud to be a part of this amazing organization and look forward to what we can – and will – do together.
Here is Breton’s note:
I understand that we have all gone through a lot of change in the past few months. With the merger now complete, I’m excited to have the opportunity to take advantage of and leverage all that Amazon can bring to our business.
Now we are ready to start this journey together. From the direction of Michael Wright as MGM+, Brian Edwards and Barry Poznick as the director As Head of Unscripted Television and Ted Lim leads corporate strategy and development, we continue to build on the legacy of MGM Studios. I have the utmost confidence in our team, along with Amazon Resources and the leadership of Mike Hopkins and Jane Salke, as we continue to create great content for a global audience.