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Zaslav Promises to be 'Very Hands-on' with Warner Bros. Discovery, Moves into Late Producer Robert Evans' Bev Hills Mansion

Discovery David Zaslav
(Image credit: Discovery)

Back in his, er, high-flying days running Paramount Pictures in the 1970s, late mogul Robert Evans described his famed Beverly Hills estate, known as "Woodland," as a refuge. 

"Being at Woodland is like being away from the world," the subject of the acclaimed 2002 documentary The Kid Stays in the Picture once said

But according the modern mogul who just bought the place for a reported $16 million, Discovery CEO David Zaslav, he has no intention of using Woodland as a hiding place from anything. 

On Tuesday, Zaslav told a Paley Center "International Council Summit" audience that he's relocating from Manhattan to Los Angeles. He'll have an office on the Warner Bros. studio lot in Burbank. And he'll be "very hands-on" while running the newly wedded Warner Bros. Discovery. 

"I'm moving to California," Zaslav said in a fireside chat with media writer Ken Auletta. "That is where the content is made, [and] this is a content company." (The event was covered by Deadline, The Hollywood Reporter and several other showbiz trades).

Zaslav will assume control of the newly combined Warner Bros. Discovery next year, once a $43 million deal that will spin WarnerMedia off from AT&T and merge it with Discovery is completed. Zaslav's ascendance means that current WarnerMedia chief Jason Kilar, who has transitioned HBO Max from a tough launch in May 2020 to a position of decided subscriber-growth momentum, has to grab a box and pack up his stuff. 

So yeah, there's pressure on David Zaslav these days. 

“The better our content is, the better chance we have of being the leading media company in the world," Zaslav added. 

The mogul, who at last update was trying to unload the Manhattan townhouse he bought from Conan O'Brien for $18 million, said he'll still spend plenty of time in New York, we'll he'll monitor the operations of CNN and the soon-to-launch CNN Plus.

Fielding questions about the cable news business in which CNN operates, Zaslav offered an opinion on one of the sector's top networks, Fox News.

“I think Fox News is much more of an advocacy network than a news network,” Zaslav said. “That’s the business I’m in, with Food Network and HGTV. Those are advocacy networks.”