The search for the replacement for ousted Amazon Studios head Roy Price appears to be headed into the home stretch. Out of a pool of accomplished female TV and film executives who reportedly had been considered for the job, we hear two — NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke and A+E Networks president and CEO Nancy Dubuc — have emerged as leading candidates. We hear both are meeting with top Amazon executives, including chairman Jeff Bezos, this and next week.
Salke and Dubuc had been among a group of executives tipped for the top Amazon Studios job as the company focused primarily on female candidates following the ouster of Price over a sexual harassment allegation. Fox TV Group chairman Dana Walden, considered an early frontrunner, recently ruled herself out of contention as she is reportedly eyeing a top TV job at the combined Disney-ABC, possibly similar to what Ban Sherwood currently oversees at Disney. Other names mentioned for the Amazon Studios vacancy include former Sony film executive-turned-producer Amy Pascal, YouTube’s Susanne Daniels, and former TV and film executive-turned-producer Gail Berman.
It is unclear whether any remain in contention, though sources indicated the search has had a stronger emphasis on executives with TV experience as Amazon is looking to build its original content unit into an original TV series powerhouse of the size of Netflix.
Both Dubuc and Salke have extensive top-level TV backgrounds. Dubuc has CEO experience, while Salke has more comprehensive scripted track record.
As President of NBC Entertainment, Salke oversees comedy development, drama development, current programming, casting, business affairs and diversity programming initiatives for NBC, as well as production via the Universal Television studio operations. Some of the hits she has shepherded at the network include top broadcast drama This Is Us and the Chicago franchise. Prior to joining NBC, Salke served as EVP Creative Affairs at 20th Century Fox TV, where she oversaw the development of such popular series as Glee and Modern Family.
From her perch as President and CEO of A+E Networks, Dubuc oversees cable networks A&E, Lifetime, History, Lifetime Movies, FYI and Viceland as well as digital content and distribution, A+E Studios, A+E Networks International and A&E Indie Films. She spearheaded the rebranding of two networks in her portfolio — Bio, which became FYI, and H2 into Viceland via a joint venture with Vice. As president of History, she led the channel into scripted programming with a string of three hits in Hatfields & McCoys, The Bible and Vikings.
An insider tells us a decision on a new Amazon topper is expected “sooner than later.”
The hiring process has been lengthy and thorough as, following the swift ouster of Price and his top lieutenants Joe Lewis and Conrad Riggs, the company was determined to get it right and find someone who would fit into the Amazon culture and provide new leadership at the same time. Fulfilling those two elements is not an easy task, sources say.