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AMC Networks chairman James Dolan takes interim charge as CEO search begins

AMC’s Breaking Bad spin-off Better Call Saul

AMC Networks chairman James Dolan will assume temporary oversight of the US-based company while it seeks a new CEO following Christina Spade’s departure.

Dolan, whose family is the controlling shareholder of AMC Networks, has been appointed as interim executive chairman, which the company said will “enable him to provide strategic oversight of the company until a new CEO is named.”

James Dolan

It was confirmed last week that Spade, who had only held the CEO role since September, was leaving. Spade was formerly the chief financial officer and chief operating officer before becoming CEO in September.

Spade’s departure was a sign of things to come, as the company then revealed it is implementing large-scale lay-offs and cuts to every area of its business. The cost-cutting measures will see its headcount in the US reduced by around 20%.

AMC Networks is the parent company of streaming services such as Acorn TV, AMC+ and Shudder and cablenets including AMC, Sundance TV and IFC. Its roster of series includes Better Call Saul, The Walking Dead and Dark Winds.

The New York-headquartered company previously said it expects to incur between US$375m and US$475m in pre-tax restructuring charges. US$300m to US$400m will be related to “strategic programming assessments,” while between US$50m and US$75m is expected to come from organisational restructuring costs including severance and retention.

It has already started cutting shows, including the AMC+ sci-fi original Moonhaven. The show was recommissioned four months ago but AMC Networks recently reversed course on the renewal as it looks to cut costs.

Under the terms of Dolan’s appointment, he will remain as interim executive chairman until the board appoints a new CEO or until March 6, 2023.

Dolan said: “AMC Networks has a seasoned executive leadership team and I look forward to working with them to provide high-level strategic direction and guidance as we navigate the business during this period of transformation in the media industry.”

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