As part of the TV networks’ increasing push for program ownership, AMC Networks is the latest cable company to beef up its in-house production unit into a full-fledged studio. The production operations, which had been part of the purview of original programming chief Joel Stillerman, will now be put under their own leadership. Current AMC head of business affairs Rick Olshansky and AMC Networks SVP of Finance and Studio Operations Stefan Reinhardt will become co-heads of the in-house studio, which will oversee production and business affairs functions across AMC and SundanceTV. The two will report to Charlie Collier, President of AMC, SundanceTV and AMC Studios, with Olshansky based in Los Angeles and Reinhardt in New York.
The move reflects the fast increase in the volume of AMC Networks-owned series as AMC and its sibling nets have been made that a priority. It will also frees up Stillerman, who just expanded his portfolio with the promotion to president of original programming and development for AMC and sibling channel SundanceTV, to focus on development for the two networks. AMC Networks’ establishment of AMC Studios is similar to what A&E Networks did last year with its in-house production arm.
In addition to its domestic channels, AMC Networks had been ramping up owned programming to supply its growing international footprint. The AMC Global channel, which launched in late 2014 and is now available in more than 125 countries and territories throughout Europe, Latin America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East, will premiere the next AMC Studios’ series, Fear The Walking Dead, this summer. It will be followed later this year by the global premiere of AMC’s martial arts drama Into The Badlands.
“Expanding the scope and solidifying the leadership of AMC Studios is an important step in the continued evolution of AMC Networks, as content ownership and global expansion have become significant drivers of our industry and meaningful contributors to the success and growth of our company,” said Ed Carroll, chief operating officer of AMC Networks.
Reinhardt, a 10-year company veteran who was instrumental in the launch of AMC Studios in 2010 and active in the running of studio operations since, was most recently AMC Networks SVP of Finance and Studio Operations. He will continue in his finance role and in that capacity will continue to report to Mary Martin, SVP of strategic planning and operations for AMC Networks. Prior to AMC Networks, Reinhardt spent eight years at Fox News Channel in operations and finance.
Olshansky joined AMC late last year as head of business affairs, after holding senior positions in business affairs at NBCUniversal, the Endeavor Talent Agency and as a consultant to Microsoft’s Xbox Entertainment Studio.
As part of the new studio alignment, VP of Business Affairs Scott Stein will be promoted to SVP of Business Affairs for AMC and oversee the negotiation of development and production agreements for AMC Studios original productions. He will continue to report to Olshansky.
Scripted series currently owned and produced by AMC Studios are: The Walking Dead, TURN: Washington’s Spies, Halt And Catch Fire, Rectify and the forthcoming Fear The Walking Dead, Into The Badlands and Hap And Leonard.