Ken Werner, a TV veteran and one of the most seasoned syndication executives in the business, will retire at the end of the year as president of Warner Bros Domestic Television Distribution. He will become a consultant to the group, and his replacement is expected to be named shortly.
Since 2006, Werner has handled distribution of all Warner Bros’ produced content, from first-run syndication, off-network television and theatrical motion pictures to on-demand, both ad-supported and subscription, pay, cable, satellite and broadcast networks and local broadcast stations.
“I have had a charmed career; fortunate to work at leading companies, alongside immensely talented colleagues, representing the most compelling content in a business that is always changing,” said Werner. “I leave Warner Bros with great pride in what my teams have accomplished, beginning with building the distribution foundation for the fifth broadcast network (The WB) through to the last seven years as we asserted a leadership role in developing the on-demand marketplace with precedent-setting innovative deals. I am extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to represent the greatest TV and motion picture library in the world and am forever indebted to my WBDTD team, the larger Warner Bros family, clients, competitors, friends and my family.”
Werner began his career with Warner Bros as EVP Distribution for The WB Network and was credited with increasing its U.S. coverage from 56% to 94%. He also was a key member of the Warner Bros team that formed The CW Network, and led the initial rollout of its distribution.
Werner was named WBDTD’s president in August 2006, taking charge of local television station distribution of first-run and off-network syndicated series and theatrical motion pictures. In January 2008, Werner added responsibility for pay, cable, satellite and broadcast network sales. With the advent of subscription and ad-supported video-on-demand, Werner’s aegis soon expanded to include this media as well (including Netflix, Amazon and Hulu).
Said Jeffrey Schlesinger, President, Warner Bros. Worldwide Television Distribution: “Ken has led our domestic television distribution business with great success to many record-setting years. He and his team are industry leaders and have achieved these results with hard work, great salesmanship and innovation. We will miss Ken but wish him the best in retirement; his contributions will continue to be felt for many years to come.”
In addition to distributing the Warner Bros library of TV series and feature films, first-run series distributed by WBDTD under Werner’s leadership include Telepictures Productions’ The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Real, TMZ, TMZ Live, Extra, Judge Mathis and The People’s Court and current off-network programs including The Big Bang Theory, Friends, Mom, Two and a Half Men, Mike & Molly and 2 Broke Girls.
Werner previously served as SVP Strategic Planning and Business Development at CBS. Prior to CBS, Werner spent eight years with Disney, where he served as SVP of Walt Disney Television. Between 1983-1988, Werner held senior business affairs positions at both Columbia Pictures Television and Viacom Enterprises.
He began his career on the business side of entertainment as an attorney and Assistant Executive Director of the Dramatists Guild of America.