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Amazon taps Salke to replace Price

Amazon has hired NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke to be the head of Amazon Studios, four months after the departure of Roy Price.

Jennifer Salke

Price stepped down as head of the streaming giant’s studio division in October, following his suspension amid allegations of sexual misconduct. In her new role, Salke will report to Jeff Blackburn, Amazon’s Seattle-based senior VP of business development and digital entertainment.

“What stood out about Jen was the deep relationships she has nurtured with creators and talent over her career, spanning NBCU, 20th Century Fox and Aaron Spelling Productions,” said Blackburn in a statement. “She’s built an impeccable reputation as a big leader who emphasises creativity, collaboration, and teamwork.”

The appointment follows widespread press reports that Fox Television Group co-chairman and co-CEO Dana Walden and A+E Networks president and CEO Nancy Dubuc also interviewed for the job.

In taking on the role, Salke inherits a division that has undergone significant personnel change over the past six months. Shortly after Price’s resignation, head of scripted programming Joe Lewis and head of unscripted programming Conrad Riggs also left the company.

In addition, international productions head Morgan Wandell, kids programming head Tara Sorensen, international development exec Carina Walker and business affairs head Tara Pietri all jumped ship to join rival tech firm Apple.

Amazon chief operating officer Albert Cheng, who has overseen Amazon Studios in an interim capacity following Price’s exit, will now report to Salke, as will head of film Jason Ropell and VP of worldwide television acquisition Brad Beale.

In a statement, Salke paid tribute to her new employer. “In the studio’s relatively short existence they have innovated, disrupted and created characters that are already an indelible part of pop-culture,” she said. “I am both honoured and emboldened by the opportunity to lead this extraordinary business.

“Of course, this is also bittersweet for me. NBC has been an amazing home – creatively, professionally and personally – and I leave there knowing that the work we did had groundbreaking impact. It’s an exciting time to be a content creator, and I look forward to being on the front lines of an innovative business with storytelling at its heart.”

NBC said Salke’s replacement would be named in due course. In a statement, NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt said: “Jennifer Salke is a world-class entertainment executive and deserves enormous credit for helping put NBC back on top. This opportunity is the logical next step in her phenomenal career and we wish her only the best.

“While we will all miss her enormously, we will hopefully find many new ways to be in business with her at Amazon.”

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