Peter Roth, who has overseen the television production operations of Warner Bros for the past 21 years, has signed a new multi-year contract extension to remain at the helm of the independent TV studio. In conjunction with his new deal, Roth has been elevated to the newly created position of Chairman of the Warner Bros Television Group. The re-upping comes months ahead of the end of Roth’s current contract this coming summer. He will continue to report to Ann Sarnoff, Chair and CEO, Warner Bros.
Roth, who has served as President and Chief Content Officer, Warner Bros Television Group, since May 2013, will continue to oversee Warner Bros’ television production activities, including domestic production of scripted, unscripted and alternative series for U.S. broadcast networks, cable and streaming services. Roth’s elevation to chairman comes four months after his top lieutenants, Susan Rovner and Brett Paul, were upped to presidents Of Warner Bros Television.
Roth will continue to work closely with Jeffrey R. Schlesinger, President, Warner Bros Worldwide Television Distribution, who will continue to report to Sarnoff.
“Across the industry, Peter has the well-deserved reputation as a legend, and I have long been an admirer of his creative insight, deep relationships and unmatched passion for — and love of — all the people behind and in front of the camera, at the networks, and across the Studio who make Warner Bros the most prolific TV producer in Hollywood,” said Sarnoff. “It’s fitting to recognize his many contributions to the company, and we’re grateful he will continue to lead our television production business as we expand our output to match the increased demand for programming by traditional and new outlets, including our own HBO Max.”
Roth presided over Warner Bros TV during the indie studio’s reign as a top broadcast supplier in the first decade of this century. He then navigated the broadcast network’s push for vertical integration and program ownership by spearheading a strategic shift of the studio’s television operations by ramping up the series production output for premium and basic cable channels, and aggressively expanding into producing series for the streaming marketplace, while still maintaining a respectable position in broadcast by adjusting WBTV’s business model to allow co-productions. As of January 2020, the combined divisions of the Warner Bros Television Group — including live-action scripted series, animation, and unscripted & alternative programs — are producing more than 115 series in the U.S. alone.
Roth also has been a magnet for talent responsible for bringing in and retaining such A-list producers under overall deals as Chuck Lorre, Greg Berlanti, J.J. Abrams and Katie McGrath’s Bad Robot Productions, Ava DuVernay, John Wells, Damon Lindelof, Mindy Kaling, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Elizabeth Banks, Bruno Heller, Michael Patrick King, Steve Molaro, Nkechi Okoro Carroll, Bill Lawrence, Bryan Cranston, David Nutter, Rob Thomas, Matt Miller and Robert Zemeckis among others.
Since Roth joined the company in March 1999 as President, Warner Bros Television, more than 32 scripted primetime series developed by his team have hit the 100-episode mark. That list includes The Big Bang Theory (279 episodes, the longest-running multicamera comedy in the history of television), Two and a Half Men, The West Wing, Gilmore Girls, Smallville, Gossip Girl, Nip/Tuck, Shameless, The Mentalist, Pretty Little Liars, Arrow, Mom, The Closer, Fringe, The Middle, George Lopez, The Flash, Mike & Molly, Person of Interest, Supernatural, Third Watch, The Vampire Diaries and One Tree Hill.
Roth came to Warner Bros Television after a three-year stint as President, Fox Entertainment, where he shepherded the Emmy-winning Ally McBeal as well as hits That ’70s Show and Family Guy. Before that, he was President of Production at Twentieth Network Television (currently 20th Century Fox Television) and President of Stephen J. Cannell Productions.