Warner Bros. Television Group’s long-standing chairman Peter Roth is stepping down from the company early next year.
Roth joined Warner Bros. Television in 1999 as president and has been responsible for signing an array of exclusive overall deals with key producers, ranging from Chuck Lorre and Greg Berlanti to J.J. Abrams and Katie McGrath’s Bad Robot Productions.
He was also behind the signing of Ava DuVernay, Mindy Kaling, Bryan Cranston and Robert Zemeckis, among numerous others, helping Warner Bros. to remain competitive in more recent years as the streaming revolution took hold.
During his more than two decades atop the studio’s TV production business, 32 scripted primetime series developed under his leadership have reached the 100-episode milestone, including The Big Bang Theory, The West Wing, Gilmore Girls, Smallville, Gossip Girl, the US reboot of Shameless, Supernatural and One Tree Hill.
Roth landed at Warner Bros. having been president at Fox Entertainment, where he worked on Ally McBeal and Family Guy, and before that he was president of production at Twentieth Network Television (now 20th Century Fox Television Productions), with credits on shows such as The X Files and King Of The Hill.
He was previously president of Stephen J. Cannell Productions and spent 10 years at the ABC Television Network, where he began his career in 1976 as manager of children’s programmes.
Roth becomes the latest senior exec to leave the US studio, which last month saw the exit of Susan Rovner, who has since joined NBCUniversal as entertainment chief.
Ann Sarnoff, chair and CEO at WarnerMedia Studios and Networks Group, said: “Peter and I have been meeting for some time about this, and while there’s never a great moment to say goodbye, he felt that this was the right time to transition in a new leader for the group.
“He’s delivered hundreds of shows, thousands of episodes, millions of viewers, with one singular vision – to work with the best people and to make the best television series. In addition to being well respected by his colleagues and competitors, actors, writers, directors and producers, he is the force behind iconic, pop-culture-defining television shows we all know and love, including The West Wing, The Big Bang Theory, Gilmore Girls, Two And A Half Men, Gossip Girl, Supernatural, The Flash and countless others. We’re thankful for his contributions to our company and wish him the very best.”
Roth added: “Working at Warner Bros. has been the greatest, most meaningful, most rewarding experience of my career. For the past 22 years, I have had the privilege to be associated with some of the most inspiring creative talent, the most impactful television series and the most dedicated and passionate people I have ever known.
“It has long been my dream to be able to say farewell at the right time in the right way and for the right reason. I’m grateful to Ann Sarnoff for giving me that opportunity and to my Warner Bros. colleagues, past and present, for giving me what has been the gift of a lifetime. I look forward to the next chapter of my career and remaining connected to those people who have meant so much to me.”
Warner Bros. Television Group is part of WarnerMedia’s new studios and networks group, which has seen extensive lay-offs in recent months. The new division includes content-focused teams, ranging from the WB Pictures Group to HBO and HBO Max and TBS and TNT.