DirecTV/AT&T Audience Network programming chief Chris Long just announced that he is exiting the company after almost two decades. Long, who started at Audience when it was owned by DirecTV and remained at the helm following the DirecTV/AT&T merger, is stepping down on the eve of AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner.

Long said that his decision was influenced by his desire to “pass the baton after pioneering one the most unique TV networks on the landscape today and move on to a new challenge. “

“For the past 18 years I’ve felt an extraordinary degree of good fortune and pride in building the Audience Network into what is has become today—a creative, quality haven for talent on both sides of the camera,” said Long. “And I’ve been blessed to have worked alongside a team that is second to none. I wish them all the very best moving forward—because I’ll be watching.”

During his tenure, Long has overseen the development and production of such series as Mr. Mercedes, Kingdom, You Me Her, Religion Of Sports, Loudermouth, Hit the Road and the upcoming Condor and Give Us This Day. Long and his team currently have over 10 projects in various stages of development and/or production.