Warner Bros have been without a boss for a number of months, but now it was announced BBC Studios Americas president Ann Sarnoff will be moving to the WarnerMedia family as its new Chair and CEO for the studio this Summer.
Sarnoff becomes the first woman in WB’s history to head the major studio and was a majorly under the radar when it came to WarnerMedia’s search for Kevin Tsujihara’s successor, but the 30-year veteran could be a good choice.
Before joining the BBC, Sarnoff was president of Dow Jones Ventures, COO of the WNBA and was vice president of consumer products and business development at Nickelodeon.
While talking to The Hollywood Reporter following her appointment “I’ve worked in many different companies with many different cultures” said Sarnoff.
“I don’t know the details and the inside story of the [Warner Bros] culture. But I look forward to bringing my style and my perspective into the culture of Warner Bros, a style that’s collaborative, respectful of talent, of knowing of who’s smart and who to listen to.”
Sarnoff’s experience at the BBC Studios Americas and bringing the BritBox streaming service to the US audience successfully is likely a massive bonus to the reason behind her hiring. As she’ll be working on bringing the WarnerMedia streaming service to launch and the public.
Another bonus is her time at Nickelodeon, which will be the target audience for WarnerMedia, as she points out “I was at Nickelodeon when millennials were born, and I know a lot about them, because they were our audience” Sarnoff says. “I’ve watched them grow up, and I know a little about how they consume media.”
One of the biggest jobs on the 57-year-old’s plate will be handling Warner Bros’ diverse film slate with WB’s motion picture chief Toby Emmerich reporting to Sarnoff.
“Toby’s done a great job running the movie side of things. I’m looking forward to learning more about it and adding my experiences. At the end of the day it’s all the same consumer, whether they’re watching television or going to the movies” added the new boss.
This is great news to hear as Emmerich has been brilliant for the studio bringing in their biggest box office ever last year thanks to films like Aquaman, A Star Is Born, Crazy Rich Asians, Ocean’s Eight and The Nun. However, for some reason this year currently it isn’t firing but that can be said of a lot of major studios at isn’t Disney.
Now with a woman commanding the studio I won’t be surprised if WB, with help from sister studio New Line Cinema, continues to diversify their film slate and this is a fantastic opportunity to be the home of female filmmaking and follow in the footsteps of Patty Jenkins, Cathy Yan, Andrea Berloff and Gurinder Chadha.