(September 29, 2003 - Burbank, CA) - Insuring a seamless transition and continued management stability, Jamie Kellner, founding architect of The WB Television Network, will turn over the leadership reigns of The WB to longtime colleagues Garth Ancier, Jordan Levin and Jed Petrick when he steps down as Chairman & Chief Executive Officer at the end of the 2003-04 television season, it was announced today by Kellner and Barry Meyer, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. At the conclusion of the 2003-2004 television season; Garth Ancier will become Chairman of the network, taking over Mr. Kellner’s big picture, forward thinking, strategic planning responsibilities as well as having the network’s Chief Financial Officer and General Counsel report to him. Jordan Levin will take over Mr. Kellner’s day-to-day operational duties as Chief Executive Officer, retaining his current programming duties, while adding business oversight of the operational running of the network. Both Ancier and Levin will report directly to Meyer. Jed Petrick, as President & Chief Operating Officer, will report to Levin, retaining responsibility and oversight for Advertising Sales, Network Distribution, Broadcast Standards, Research, Administration, Human Resources, The WB 100+ Station Group and Kids’ WB! During this transition period, between now and the end of the season, Ancier has been named co-Chairman and Levin promoted to co-Chief Executive Officer, sharing both Kellner’s titles and responsibilities. In addition to his duties at The WB, Mr. Ancier will continue to be available to sister company Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. to consult on programming issues associated with their news and entertainment networks. Said Jamie Kellner: “Three years ago as the network moved toward profitability, I began to formulate my transition plan as I contemplated retirement from The WB. The transition process began when I named Jed Petrick as our first network President & Chief Operating Officer, to oversee the business units. A wrinkle in the plan developed when I was asked to go to Atlanta to oversee and strengthen for the future, the TBS division. At that time, I designated Jordan and Jed to split the responsibilities of running the network on a day-to-day basis, while Garth, who I’ve worked successfully with since 1986, acted as one of my most senior advisors." “The WB just completed its best season ever in ratings and profitability and as we head into the new season, our profitability continues to show growth. Both Barry and I believe that this team has already proven themselves to be up to the challenge of taking the network to its next level of success. And although we might be the youngest of the broadcast networks, our senior management team is the most experienced in the television business. Putting Jordan, Garth and Jed at the helm of The WB, and doing it before I leave, insures a smooth and seamless transition. Having stable management is one of our proudest accomplishments and there is no doubt in my mind that this is the best way for us to successfully deliver upon our highly profitable long-term business plan.” Said Barry Meyer: “Jamie is truly without peer in this business, there is no other executive in the history of the industry that successfully created two broadcast television networks from scratch. But, as Jamie often says, he didn’t do it alone and we are very fortunate that the team that helped him make history and build this incredible asset will take us into the future." “It seems like only yesterday when the partnership between Warner Bros. and Jamie began, as he and Bruce (Rosenblum) traversed the country in all sizes of planes and all types of weather signing up affiliates. Jamie and his team have executed on the vision beyond the expectations of all those naysayers that loudly proclaimed that there was no room for more than four broadcast networks. Boy, were they wrong. Bruce and I and all of us at Warner Bros. Entertainment look forward to working with Garth, Jordan, Jed, Bob (Bibb), Lew (Goldstein) and the extraordinary team that Jamie has put together over the past 9 years as we continue the tradition of success that he began." “The WB Television Network, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, signed on January 11, 1995 and has grown to be a network with the most desirable median age for advertisers and one of the three broadcast networks to be profitable last season." Said Garth Ancier: “When Jamie (Kellner) first approached me in 1994 to once again work with him in creating a new broadcast network, as we had done at Fox in 1986, I was energized by the challenge of helping chart the course for a fifth broadcast network. I was also excited to be working, for the first time, with the seasoned and storied team of executives at Warner Brothers, led by Barry Meyer and Bruce Rosenblum. Jamie, Barry and Bruce had a clear vision, an enlightened business plan and a strong affiliate partner in the Tribune Company; the decision to join them was the best one of my career. “As we built the company, I'm proud that The WB has been able to attract and maintain the "best and the brightest" executive team in the broadcasting business; Jordan and Jed have exemplified that excellence. I am truly proud to be joining them in this partnership. “I want to add a special note of thanks to Jamie Kellner for his belief in me 17 years ago at Fox, 9 years ago at Warner Brothers, and 3 years ago at Turner Broadcasting; it has been an extraordinary and exhilarating journey.” Said Jordan Levin: “I thank Jamie and Barry for their faith in my ability to step into a role that has been done masterfully from the beginning here at The WB. However, The WB has always been about a partnership, with the collection of senior executives that launched the network, with Warner Bros. corporately since day one and most recently with Peter Roth and his team." “I am fortunate to work with a talented and dedicated group that makes decisions collectively and, along with Garth and Jed, I will have tremendous support in building on the strong growth curve the network has navigated as we head into our 10th season.” Said Jed Petrick: “The WB is a real passion play for me. I’m looking forward to the challenges ahead, working side by side with Garth and Jordan and an incredible group of senior managers whom I have had the pleasure to compete with successfully for many years. We speak the same language and share an incredible amount of mutual respect." “The structure really plays to all sides of the ‘business of network television’ with a strong emphasis on both our creative output and revenue generation, both vital aspects to our success to date and in the future.” JAMIE KELLNER - Bio Jamie Kellner’s career in television will go down as one of the most accomplished in the history of the business as his innovative thinking led to the launch of both the Fox Broadcasting Company and The WB Network, finding ways to create new business models to complement the rapidly changing entertainment industry while successfully reaching the elusive teen and young adult audiences coveted by Madison Avenue. The key to Mr. Kellner’s success and longevity is that he structures deals so that all parties involved profit. The network has launched 14 series that have made it into syndication, a feat no other network has accomplished since The WB’s launch in 1995. Mr. Kellner, the Chairman and CEO of The WB Network, also served as the President and Chief Operating Officer of FBC, for which he was the first employee hired by Barry Diller. He also held the post of Chairman and CEO of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., where he helped the venerable CNN, TBS, TNN and the rest of Turner’s impressive portfolio of stations rise to new heights in an increasingly competitive environment. Mr. Kellner has often succeeded when so-called experts deemed it impossible. Many thought there was no room for a fourth broadcast network, but with FOX and The WB, Mr. Kellner has launched successful fourth and fifth networks. Many thought that “Saturday Night Live” would be a bust in syndication. Not Mr. Kellner. His foresight of conceiving, buying, packaging and launching the first syndication window for “SNL” created a financial windfall for all parties involved. He also figured out how to marry cable and broadcast television to help emerging networks gain distribution in small markets with a dearth of over-the-air signals, first with Fox Net and then with The WB 100+ Station Group, a 24-hour service. The 100+ model provides revenue streams for local cable operators, a Big Three affiliate in the market, producers of syndicated programming and The WB, while offering local marketers an opportunity to reach teen and young adult audiences. While it was formerly a given that networks paid local television stations to air their programming, Mr. Kellner reversed that and came up with a plan that had television stations sharing the profits they made as a result of affiliating with The WB. With a rare aptitude for both business and programming, the programs launched under Mr. Kellner’s watch include “The Simpson’s,” “Beverly Hills 90210,” “Married…with Children,” “In Living Color,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Dawson’s Creek,” “7th Heaven” and “Smallville.” His resume also includes the launch of Fox Kids Network and Kids’ WB!, both of which, against great odds, became the #1 broadcast networks in children’s television. He is also the Chairman and CEO of ACME Communications, a television station group, which is the third largest affiliate group of The WB. GARTH ANCIER - Bio Garth Ancier, who has had the distinction of serving as president of three broadcast networks and president of production for a major television studio, has been Executive Vice President of Programming for Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. (TBS, Inc.). In this capacity, he oversaw programming for the TBS, Inc. news and entertainment networks, which include CNN, where he shepherded the introduction of “Newsnight with Aaron Brown” and the “American Morning” franchise, CNN Headline News, TBS Superstation, TNT, Cartoon Network, Turner Classic Movies as well as The WB Network, which he helped birth as its first President of Entertainment. Mr. Ancier was also the first Entertainment President of the Fox Broadcasting Co. and was at the helm of NBC Entertainment from 1999-2001. During his career, Mr. Ancier, a protégé of the legendary Brandon Tartikoff, has developed some of the most distinctive television programs of his time including “The Simpson's,” “Married...with Children” and “In Living Color” at Fox; “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Dawson's Creek,” “7th Heaven” and “Felicity” at The WB; and “Ed,” “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” “Scrubs” and “Fear Factor” at NBC. In between the creation of FBC and The WB, Mr. Ancier also helped shape the landscape of daytime talk by creating “The Ricki Lake Show.” From 1989 to 1990, Mr. Ancier served as President of Production, Network Television for Disney, where he supervised the development and production of all Walt Disney and Touchstone Television series (including “Home Improvement”), made-for-television movies, specials and “The Magical World of Disney” for NBC. Mr. Ancier is a graduate of Princeton University. He serves on the Board of Trustees of the National Council of Families and Television. JORDAN LEVIN - Bio Jordan Levin was the first programming executive hand-selected by Jamie Kellner, Garth Ancier and Susanne Daniels to launch and build America’s fifth broadcast network. Within seven years, Mr. Levin grew along with the network and, at the age of 33, became one of the youngest network presidents in history when he was appointed President, Entertainment of The WB in 2001. Since the inception of the network, Mr. Levin has remained at the forefront of all programming decisions and has been instrumental in building The WB’s distinctive brand and identity. Mr. Levin is a member of the core team that shares credit for the network’s ability to rival the Big Four Networks in program quality and its claim as the industry’s lone growth story during the past nine years, The WB’s entire existence. The network’s success can be attributed to consistently developing hit shows. Successful series developed at The WB include “Gilmore Girls,” “Smallville,” “Dawson’s Creek,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “7th Heaven,” “Everwood,” “Angel,” “Reba,” “Felicity” and “Charmed.” Despite the television industry’s evolution into a more vertically integrated model, Mr. Levin has successfully maintained mutually advantageous partnerships with every major studio, launching more series that have reached syndication than any other network. Meanwhile, because of The WB’s brand loyalty and ability to reach younger audiences, the network has been integral in corporate synergy efforts across multiple platforms within AOL/Time Warner. The WB was not Mr. Levin’s first venture into a start-up division within the scope of an entertainment conglomerate. Previously, he served as Director of Comedy Development at Walt Disney/Touchstone Television, where he developed such series as “Ellen” and “Boy Meets World” and was the current programming executive on “Home Improvement.” Mr. Levin, a Dean’s List and Cum Laude graduate with special honors from the University of Texas at Austin’s Radio/Television/Film program, is the President of the Hollywood Radio and Television Society. He also currently serves as the Vice Chair on the Advisory Board for the University of Texas’ College of Communications, is a member of the University’s Chancellor’s Council and was named the College’s Alumnus of the Year in 2002. JED PETRICK - Bio Jed Petrick, one of a number of senior executives at The WB who formed its original management team in 1994 and one of the key executives who worked at Fox Broadcasting Company for The WB’s Chairman and CEO Jamie Kellner, is the only person to ever hold the title of President and Chief Operating Officer at The WB Network. In that capacity, Mr. Petrick is the network’s top executive for Media Sales, Kids’ WB!, Finance, Legal, Human Resources, Research, Standards & Practices and Network Distribution, overseeing The WB’s emerging group of affiliates which now reach over 92% of U.S. households, including 9 million via The WB 100+ Station Group, a 24-hour cable-delivered service which carries The WB’s primetime schedule in markets 100-211. Mr. Petrick has been at the forefront of nearly all of the network’s initiatives that have led to its profitability in just seven years of existence. He forged a unique agreement with The WB’s affiliate body, effectively trading the right to program ratings-starved Saturday nights for the more desirable “EasyView” Sunday 5:00-7:00 p.m. block, a consumer-friendly multi-play strategy that allows viewers a second chance to experience that week’s episodes of one established hit and a promising freshman series. Mr. Petrick is also credited with bringing the smash hit “Pokémon” to Kids’ WB!, the building block that has made Kids’ WB! the perennial leader in children’s programming among all broadcasters. As The WB’s original head of media sales, Mr. Petrick built and then guided the most effective sales department in the industry by raising the importance of marketing to the next generation of consumers - the young adults and teens that The WB so efficiently delivers - to America’s corporations. Under his leadership The WB has earned the industry’s largest year-to-year CPM increases over the past six upfront marketplaces.
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