Cris Abrego is to become the sole CEO of Endemol Shine North America after it emerged Charlie Corwin was unexpectedly exiting the 21st Century Fox-backed production giant.
US reports have strongly linked Corwin to a post at Imagine Entertainment, the prodco behind National Geographic’s new drama-doc Mars.
He would take on the role of CEO, and is reported in three separate reports to be in advanced negotiations, though both parties declined to comment. He would report to company co-founders Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, with the appointment closely following the US$100 million investment Imagine received from Raine Group this year.
Abrego (left) and Corwin (below right) have been co-chief executive officers since of Endemol, Shine Group and Core Media came together, and co-chairmen of Endemol Shine Americas since January.
They became co-chiefs of Endemol North America in October 2013, having both previously selling their production business (Corwin’s Original Media and Abrego’s 51 Minds Entertainment) to Endemol.
Corwin will now leave the company at the end of the month amid industry rumour his vision for ESNA’s scripted business differed from that of Endemol Shine Group CEO Sophie Turner Laing.
Fox, which owns Endemol Shine along with Apollo Global Management, has a sprawling scripted production business in North America through its studio arm, while ESNA operates the Endemol Shine Studios unit, which Sharon Hall now runs.
Corwin will remain executive producer on several Endemol Shine Studios scripted projects, including Luther creator Neil Cross’ TV adaptation of The Talented Mr. Ripley. Also on the slate is upcoming Showtime comedy-drama I’m Dying Up Here and the recently renewed AT&T Audience Network drama Kingdom.
ESNA subsidiaries include Original, 51 Minds, Authentic Entertainment and True Entertainment, Endemol Shine Studios and digital division Endemol Shine Beyond USA, which Bonnie Pan leads. Eden Gaha oversees the unscripted division, which counts series such as Big Brother, Masterchef and The Biggest Loser in its programming slate.
Following Corwin’s exit, Miami-based Endemol Shine Latino president Laurens Drillich will report to Abrego.
Endemol Shine chief Turner Laing thanked Corwin for his service, adding: “His energy and humour will be much missed and he will be leaving us with our very best wishes for the future.
“Going forward, our US and Latin American business is in brilliant hands with Cris at the helm of an outstandingly talented team in all areas. The business is ideally placed to build on this terrific momentum and enter an accelerated phase of growth.”
Abrego said ESNA had “a lot of momentum across all facets” of the business, with a number “very promising new series set to launch in coming months”.
“Clearly we are all going to miss Charlie, who has been a great partner since we first joined the company together, and he’s played an integral role in bringing together the tremendous leadership team we now have in place,” he added.
The news comes soon after TBI revealed Nicholas Copperman was taking charge of a merger Endemol and Shine operation in France, with Theirry Lachkar exiting as a result of the restructure.
France was the only territory that had not been merged into one group after the parent companies became one, as Shine had an exclusive contract to create Talpa Media formats in the territory. However, this recently changed, with Talpa parent ITV taking over local production.