Former Turner programming chief Michael Wright has been named president of Epix, assuming his new role on Dec. 4.
Wright was appointed to his new role by Metro-Goldwyn Mayer, which completed its purchase of the remaining interest in Epix it didn’t already own in April. He will report to MGM chairman and CEO Gary Barber, who had served as interim president of Epix after former Epix president and CEO Mark Greenberg left in September, and will lead creative and marketing efforts for the channel. Business operations will continue to be overseen by Monty Sarhan, Epix executive vice president & general manager. Sarhan will also work closely with Chris Ottinger, MGM’s president, Worldwide Television Distribution & Acquisitions on all distribution matters.
Wright has a long history in the entertainment business. He most recently served as CEO of Amblin Partners, a content creation company he launched with director Steven Spielberg in 2015 and was named CEO of DreamWorks Studios in 2014. Wright served as president and head of programming for Turner, TBS, TNT, and Turner Classic Movies (TCM) from 2002 to 2014, when he left the company amid a voluntary buyout of more than 500 employees.
“We are thrilled to welcome Michael into the MGM family,” Barber said in a statement. ”His television industry experience and creative instincts are the perfect combination to help us execute on our original content strategy for Epix and drive additional value creation for MGM overall.”
Epix has recently gotten more aggressive on the original programming front, expanding its lineup to include The Truth About the Harry QuebertAffair, currently in production in Montreal and starring Patrick Dempsey in his return to television, Ben Schnetzer, Virginia Madsen and Damon Wayans Jr.. Early next year, MGM Television will begin production on the second season of Get Shorty, starring Ray Romano and Chris O’Dowd. Those series join existing Epix originals like Berlin Station and Golden Globe nominated Graves, docu-series America Divided, Danica, about racing superstar Danica Patrick, and big movie franchises James Bond, Rocky, and Star Trek.
“Epix, under MGM’s ownership, is strongly positioned to excel as a provider of engaging, entertaining original content,” Wright said in a statement. “This is an exciting time in our business, and I'm looking forward to working with Gary, the EPIX and MGM teams, to bring the best storytelling voices to the network and move EPIX into the next phase of its growth.”
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