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Zaslav Re-upped Through 2027

David Zaslav
(Image credit: Discovery)

One day after he emerged as the kingpin of what will, upon deal closure, be the combined $52 billion annual revenue force of a merged WarnerMedia and Discovery Inc., David Zaslav received a four-year contract extension through 2027. 

According to a Discovery statement, the extension was made in conjunction with the $43 billion deal, which calls for AT&T to spin off its WarnerMedia assets so that they can merge with Discovery. 

Zaslav has led Discovery since 2007, overseeing its emergence as a public company in 2008, and its evolution into Fortune 500 status in 2014. Discovery boasts that he's been instrumental in leading a direct-to-consumer push that resulted, as of the end of the first quarter, in the company touting 15 million streaming users worldwide, most of them tied to the new Discovery Plus SVOD platform. 

In the contract extension announcement Tuesday, Discovery also tubthumped Zaslav's role in leading the 2018 acquisition of Scripps Networks Interactive. 

Discovery now accounts for 20% of the ad-supported pay-TV viewership in the U.S., the company said, with 7 billion monthly video views, the company said.

Discovery also said that it has more than 3 billion viewers across streaming and linear networks worldwide. 

For Zaslav, a former NBCUniversal executive, the re-up comes right after it was revealed that his 2020 pay was $37.7 million, down 18% from his 2019 compensation.

Zaslav took nearly $137 million in compensation in 2018, when he was enticed to lead the combined Scripps and Discovery. 

Zaslav's ascendancy comes amid a notably conspicuous fall from grace for WarnerMedia chief Jason Kilar, who for now remains CEO of the media company. 

According to numerous published reports, Kilar is currently in negotiations on a severance agreement to depart the company he just restructured.