- Big media's massive restructurings and pandemic-driven business troubles have thrust experienced talent in the TV and film industries onto the job market in 2020.
- Business Insider identified 21 respected TV, film, and streaming-video execs on the market who are adept at navigating the shifting media landscape.
- The list, based on our reporting and nominations we received, includes industry veterans and rising stars, such as Blair Rich, Kay Madati, Jane Wiseman, Steve Pamon, Kevin Reilly, and more.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Big media's massive restructurings and pandemic-driven business troubles have thrust experienced talent in the TV and film industries onto the job market in 2020.
Across the US media landscape, a staggering 28,637 jobs were slashed this year through October, compared with around 9,198 during the same period last year, according to outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
Yet, companies inside and outside the media industry are still searching for talent with media skillsets, top headhunters told Business Insider earlier this year. Apple and Disney each recently hired key former execs from shuttering streaming startup Quibi, as an example.
Read more: Quibi poached top talent from Netflix, Snap, and Hulu. Meet 9 leaders and content execs who are now free agents as the startup winds down.
One of the headhunters also told Business Insider in December that recruiting was picking up across the TV and film industries for operational roles like distribution and legal, and that hiring for those positions tends to precede creative jobs.
For many in those sectors, however, the reality is they won't end up in the same jobs they had before. Some may return to traditional media companies in different capacities, after management has reassessed its needs and started hiring again.
Others may try to transition to different industries. The cliché that every company is a content company now seems to be a reality, particularly as more consumer brands build their own content operations and advertisers whose budgets were squeezed by the pandemic look for others ways to connect with consumers. Brands like job-search platform The Muse and healthy food startup Daily Harvest are blurring the lines between consumer and content companies.
In the past year, some TV, film, and streaming execs have successfully jumped to jobs in other industries. TikTok hired former Hulu exec Nick Tran to head up marketing, former Disney exec Kevin Mayer also went to TikTok for a stint before hopping to an investment firm, and Adidas snapped up former Disney and BET marketer Vicky Free.
Business Insider identified 21 respected TV, film, and streaming-video execs on the job market who leaders should know as they revamp their media and content leadership in 2021. All have helped their companies through transformational moments, or transitioned in the industry themselves.
The list is based on our reporting and nominations we received. It includes industry veterans and rising stars, like Blair Rich, Kay Madati, Jane Wiseman, Joe Marchese, Kevin Reilly, and more.
Some were laid off in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic or as part of ongoing consolidation among big media, others recently left their jobs for different reasons, and some are independents looking for their next opportunity.
Derek Chang was the chief executive of the NBA's China business until he left the league in May.
At the NBA, Chang was responsible for growing basketball and the league's business development in China, where the sport has become very popular. He helped expand the league's retail presence and struck more deals with Chinese media partners on the job. He also presided over the NBA's relationship with China during a challenging period that included a fallout with the Chinese government over a tweet by former Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey backing anti-government protesters in Hong Kong, and the coronavirus pandemic that halted live sports.
Chang was a prominent cable exec before he joined the NBA in 2018. He was the head of Scripps Networks Interactive's international lifestyle channels and led the expansion of those brands. He also oversaw until 2012 content strategy and development at DirecTV, where he managed the cable company's sports business and its relationship with the NBA.
Chang held exec roles at Charter Communications and regional-sports network YES Network as well.
Brian Colbert is a rising star in the sports and entertainment sectors, coming up at companies like ESPN, Pandora, About.com, and Viacom.
Colbert was mostly recently a senior VP at the NHL team the Pittsburgh Penguins, where he was responsible for all the team's revenue streams, including ticket sales, corporate deals, TV, rights, licensing, and more. Colbert exited the team this year after three years on the job.
He was an early mover into the digital sector after marketing gigs at the NBA and MTV as well as an ad-sales job at MusicChoice. Colbert joined ESPN in 2007 and led its mobile-advertising strategy during his five years at the cable network. He was also music-streamer Pandora's first head of mobile strategy, and was the chief revenue officer at About.com for six years.
Randy Freer was most recently at the helm of Hulu as its star rose in streaming and joint ownership structure shifted.
Freer joined Hulu as CEO in the fall 2017, just after the company won its first Emmy and started selling a streaming live-TV package that grew to become one of dominant offerings in its category. During his time there, Freer reorganized the management structure, doubled Hulu's employee base to 2,500, and negotiated deals with talent like Elizabeth Moss and J.J. Abrams. He exited in March, after Disney took full control of Hulu's operations and moved to bring the company closer to its other streaming endeavors.
Before Hulu, Freer spent nearly 20 years at Fox, where his most recent role was president and operating chief of the Fox Networks Group, which included FOX, Fox Sports, FX, and National Geographic. He also led Fox Sports and held other leadership positions at the media group's sports networks.
Since leaving Hulu, Freer has been running his own consultancy, The Freer Company, and advising clients on streaming, ad tech, sports betting, as well as working with private-equity companies.
Sophie Goldschmidt has spent much of her career in roles that blend sports with media.
As CEO of the World Surfing League, she pushed the league to expand into original content and events, and aggressively grew its distribution around the world. The league inked live broadcast deals with Fox Sports and Facebook Watch under her leadership, and sold an upcoming reality show to ABC called "Ultimate Surfer," which is produced by Pilgrim Media.
Goldschmidt was previously chief strategy and commercial officer at UK-based marketing group Chime, and the chief commercial and marketing officer at the Rugby Football Union in England before that.
She also managed the NBA's Europe, Middle East, and Africa business; oversaw marketing and sponsorships at Women's Tennis Association Tour; and worked in soccer sports marketing at Adidas earlier in her career.
Besides Ted Sarandos, no one has left a larger mark on Netflix's content business than Cindy Holland.
Holland, who was Netflix's vice president of original content up until recently, helped build the streamer into a sought-after creator of TV and film, as Sarandos' top deputy. She exited as Sarandos began restructuring the content team this year.
Holland joined Netflix in 2002, when its main business was hawking DVDs. She took the lead on its original programming strategy as Netflix launched its early slate of exclusives that would come to set the streamer apart, shows like "House of Cards" and "Orange Is the New Black." She also oversaw later hits like "The Crown" and "Stranger Things."
Before Netflix, the Stanford-educated exec worked at the internet startup Kozmo, as well as a few film and production companies.
She's currently on the board of Horizon Acquisition Corporation, a special-purpose acquisition company focused on media and entertainment.
David Levy ran Turner Broadcasting's sports and entertainment networks as president until shortly after the company was acquired by AT&T through its acquisition of Time Warner.
Levy was president of Turner Sports for a decade before taking on the bigger job in 2013.
During his tenure at Turner, Levy led deals like Turner Sports' acquisition of Bleacher Report, which became the company's first digital sports destination. He spearheaded a pact with CBS that brought the March Madness finals to cable TV. And the company launched new niche streaming services that leveraged the classic catalogs Turner owned, such as Boomerang for traditional animation and FilmStruck, which was popular among cinephiles for streaming the Criterion Collection before it was shuttered in 2018. He left Turner in March 2019, after 33 years at the company.
Since then, Levy has advised firms including The Raine Group, an investment bank in the media, tech, and telecom sectors, and founded Back Nine Venture, which invests in early-stage startups.
Blossom Lefcourt's expertise lies in production legal.
Her most recent post was at ViacomCBS, where she led business and legal affairs for the development and production businesses at ViacomCBS's entertainment and youth networks, including Comedy Central, MTV, VH1, Paramount Network, and Smithsonian Channel. Lefcourt took on the executive VP and deputy general counsel post in March, and left the company in November.
She was previously a senior VP at Viacom, where she spent five years handling similar duties for entertainment brands Comedy Central, TV Land, Paramount Network, and Bellator.
Lefcourt also spent nearly a decade before Viacom climbing the business and legal affairs ranks at Lorne Michaels' Broadway Video Entertainment, where she was most recently an exec VP.
Chris Linn put WarnerMedia's reality network truTV on the map as president of the cable network.
Under his leadership, the reality-focused network that used be Court TV found its lane with hit franchises like "Impractical Jokers," which helped it reach a younger and more affluent audiences. Linn left truTV in May 2019, after its operations were merged with Turner's other entertainment networks TBS and TNT.
He joined truTV from Viacom, where he oversaw programming and production for eight years, and developed reality shows like "Jersey Shore" and "Catfish." He also worked at Spike TV and Nickelodeon.
Former Turner chief and chairman John Martin ran the cable-network group for four years, as the traditional TV landscape was being upended. His tenure at Turner ended after parent Time Warner was acquired by AT&T in 2018.
During his time at the helm, Martin oversaw Turner's full suite of news, sports, and entertainment brands, including CNN, TNT, TBS, Cartoon Network, and Turner Sports, and helped kicked start their digital transitions. He also vocally defended the AT&T-Time Warner deal as the Department of Justice was moving to block it.
Martin spent more than two decades at Time Warner, even as the company spun off cable business Time Warner Cable in 2009 and print division Time Inc. in 2014. He was chief financial officer of Time Warner, from 2008 to 2013, under former chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes. Martin was the financial chief of Time Warner Cable before that.
Martin joined Time Warner in 1993, and left for a two-year stint at the equity-research firm ABN AMRO Securities. He was a senior accountant at Ernst and Young earlier in his career.
Kay Madati was a key Twitter exec, steering its content deals for more than two years as global vice president and head of content partnerships, before departing at the end of 2019.
Madati drove Twitter to avoid the fray of tech companies building their own content operations like Facebook and Snap, and leaned into partnerships with publishers like BuzzFeed, Bloomberg, and MTV to bring more clips, highlights, and live events onto the platform.
He brought in news, sports, and entertainment deals including a pact with NBC to air some live coverage and highlights of the 2020 Summer Olympics and special streams of live events like the MTV's Video Music Awards.
Madati was a seasoned media and advertising exec before Twitter. He was BET Networks' digital chief, and he previously oversaw digital for CNN. He also led Facebook's media and entertainment business and worked in marketing at BMW of North America.
Joe Marchese has focused his career on finding where consumer attentions are shifting next.
The former Fox executive has spent the past five or so years running his own ventures, including media-and-tech holding company Attention Capital and venture fund and startup studio Human Ventures, both of which he cofounded.
While Human Ventures focused on early-stage companies and Attention Capital on later-stage ventures, both had an eye toward businesses centered around community and how people spend their time, including investments in Tribeca Film Festival parent Tribeca Enterprises and women-focused media company GirlBoss.
During that time, Marchese was also an executive at Fox Networks Group, most recently as president of advertising revenue. He exited in March 2019 when Disney bought the company.
Marchese, a serial entrepreneur, founded in 2007 ad-tech company TrueX, which let people watch interactive ads instead of standard ads in exchange for content. He sold it to Fox for $200 million in 2014.
Christina Miller was a top Turner Broadcasting exec.
She most recently led Turner's kids and young adults networks as president of Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, and Boomerang for five years. She took on oversight of Turner Classic Movies during that time, as well.
She helped build shows like "Rick and Morty," "Steven Universe," and "Adventure Time" into blockbuster franchises during her run there, which ended in late 2019.
Over her 15 years at Turner, Miller was also digital manger of the NBA digital portfolio and senior VP in charge of Turner Sports' marketing programming an strategy. She started her career at the company at Cartoon Network, where she built the network's first global consumer products business.
She was also an executive at children's TV distributor HIT Entertainment, where she was responsible for brand management and licensing, before Turner.
Gary Newman knows how to find and foster TV hitmakers.
Newman presided over the Fox's TV studio and broadcast network operations with partner Dana Walden during a plum period for traditional TV.
During his 20 years co-running the TV-studio division, Newman led longstanding relationships with key creators including "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane and "Simpsons" scribe Jim Brooks. He ushered in groundbreaking hits like Ryan Murphy's first big series, "Glee," and Steve Levitan and Chris Lloyd's "Modern Family." He and Walden also grew the studio into a major producer of content for streamers including Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu toward the end of his tenure.
Newman exited Fox in March 2019, after the TV studio was acquired by Disney.
He's since done consulting work in media and entertainment with the firm Attention Capital.
Newman also practiced real-estate law earlier in his career.
Steven Pamon had a hand in some of the biggest entertainment moments of the last decade.
Pamon was president and chief operating officer of Beyonce's Parkwood Entertainment for nearly five years, during which time he worked on projects such as the halftime show at Super Bowl 50, the visual album for "Lemonade," The Formation World Tour, and Netflix's "Homecoming" documentary.
Pamon was previously head of sports and entertainment marketing at Chase, where he led the bank's sponsorship of Beyonce and Jay-Z's 2014 "One the Run" Tour, and handled other corporate sponsorships and helped secure exclusive access to marquee events and rights.
He also held senior executive roles at the NFL, HBO, and Time Warner during his career.
Recently, Pamon joined the board of the WWE, and has advised startups like ed-tech company Encantos.
D'Angela Proctor is an entertainment industry consultant, exec, and entrepreneur.
She runs, as CEO, Wayfarer Entertainment, a production company cofounded by "Jane the Virgin" star Justin Baldoni that's focused on projects aiming to create social change. She's overseeing its asset sale to Baldoni's new TV and film company Wayfarer Studios, which formed after he sold a majority stake in the entertainment company to a private investor.
Last year, Proctor also consulted Ava DuVernay's Array Filmworks as it prepared for its production pact with Warner Bros. TV, and she led production and business development for Lionsgate's CodeBlack Films. She previously consulted for BET's original programming lead and executive produced projects for the cable network.
Proctor was head of original programming and production at cable network TV One for five years. And she cofounded and ran her own production company, Strange Fruit Media, earlier on.
Kevin Reilly developed HBO Max's early content strategy before exiting WarnerMedia in August as part of the legacy-media company's ongoing management shakeup.
Reilly, the former chief content officer at HBO Max, ushered in projects for the fledgling streaming service including its first successful original,"The Flight Attendant."
He also led Turner's entertainment networks, TBS and TNT, during his time at Turner and later added truTV to his purview. Reilly spearheaded an effort to cut back on the number of commercials in shows when he was president of TNT and TBS, and chief creative officer of Turner Entertainment.
Before Turner, Reilly headed up entertainment programming at major TV networks including Fox, FX, and NBC, for several years each. He oversaw the launch of shows like "Glee," "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," and "Empire" at Fox; championed series like "The Office" at NBC; and shepherded in series like "The Shield" and "Nip/Tuck" at FX.
Warner Bros. marketing exec Blair Rich is exiting at the end of this year the Hollywood studio where she spent much of her career.
Rich oversees worldwide marketing for Warner Bros. Pictures Group's theatrical and home entertainment divisions in the current post of president. She helped boost some of the studio's biggest recent successes, like "The Joker" and "Crazy Rich Asians," since taking on that role in 2018.
As live events stalled this year amid the coronavirus pandemic, Rich also helped launch the virtual DC fan convention, DC FanDome, which included star-studded panels and new details about "Wonder Woman 1984," the upcoming Synder Cut of the "Justice League," and other DC titles.
Rich helped drive franchises like Harry Potter and the DC film universe during her more than 20-year tenure at the studio. She began her career at Warner Bros. as a marketing trainee in international marketing.
Rich, based in Los Angeles, is also on the board of the non-profit LA Family Housing.
David Tochterman consults on content strategy and digital marketing in the consumer and tech sectors.
He began his career in TV, producing network shows for The Carsey-Werner Company including "That 70s Show" and "3rd Rock From The Sun," and then for Will Smith's Overbrook Entertainment.
Tochterman pivoted to digital early on, as YouTube was exploding in the mid-2000s. He launched a branded-entertainment startup in 2006, and went on to build a digital practice for talent agency Innovative Artists. He also consulted networks like PBS and ABC on their digital strategies.
In 2016, Tochterman raised venture-capital funding to start Canvas Media Studios, which creates content mainly for media and tech companies, as well as major advertisers like P&G and Maybelline NY.
Rosemary Tarquinio is a former senior content executive who spent 16 years developing shows for CBS before departing the broadcaster earlier this year.
Tarquinio was most recently senior VP, overseeing current programming at CBS Entertainment. She managed dramas, comedies, and late-night talk show series in that role, including the Dick Wolf-produced crime dramas "FBI" and "FBI: Most Wanted."
In earlier posts at CBS, she supported shows like "The Good Wife," and championed series including "The Mentalist."
Before joining CBS in 2013, Tarquinio was a TV exec at Wolfgang Petersen's Radiant Productions, the Kushner-Locke Company, and NBC Studios.
Former Netflix content exec Jane Wiseman led the scripted-comedy team that launched shows like "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt," "Grace and Frankie," "BoJack Horseman," and "Dead To Me" during her nearly seven years at the streaming company.
Wiseman, who joined in January 2014, built Netflix's scripted-comedy department, which tallied more than 20 people by the time she left in October.
She also developed and managed dramas including "Narcos" and "Ozark" during her run. She served as vice president of original programming for much of her time at the company.
Before Netflix, Wiseman worked on "New Girl" as an exec at Chernin Entertainment, developed shows such as "Parks and Recreation" at NBC, and developed "Arrested Development" at Fox.
Nina Wolarksy, a former vice president of original series at Netflix, led a drama team at the streaming company that was responsible for hits like "The Crown," "Orange Is the New Black," and "When They See Us."
Her focus at Netflix was on non-genre dramas. She also worked on high-profile production deals with Shonda Rhimes' Shondaland, Jenji Kohan, and Peter Morgan.
Wolarsky joined Netflix in 2012 from Smokehouse Pictures, the studio founded by George Clooney and Grant Heslov that was behind critically acclaimed films like "Argo" and "The Ides of March."
Wolarsky was vice president of development and production at former indie-film shingle Harp Sharp Entertainment earlier in her career.
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