People/Biz

Richard Pepler, David Levy exit WarnerMedia

WarnerMedia is seeing the departure of two of its top executives in the midst of a company shakeup. HBO’s long-time chief Richard Plepler (pictured, left) is leaving the premium cable net as ...
March 1, 2019

WarnerMedia is seeing the departure of two of its top executives in the midst of a company shakeup.

HBO’s long-time chief Richard Plepler (pictured, left) is leaving the premium cable net as it restructures  under new parent company, AT&T, Realscreen has confirmed.

Various media reports have also noted that David Levy (right), president of Turner (part of WarnerMedia), is exiting after more than three decades with the company.

Plepler’s departure comes nine months after the U.S. District Court approved AT&T’s bid to acquire HBO parent company Time Warner for US$84.5 billion, forming the New York-headquartered mass media conglomerate WarnerMedia. The federal court of appeals reaffirmed the deal earlier this week after it was contested by the U.S. Department of Justice.

As part of AT&T’s acquisition, the company has taken the helm of Time Warner’s portfolio of networks, including HBO, Warner Bros. Entertainment and Turner services and networks including TNT, CNN and TBS.

Plepler spent nearly 28 years at HBO, with 12 of those years having been spent as co-president alongside Michael Lombardo. During his tenure as co-president, Plepler greenlit a number of acclaimed HBO series, including True Blood and Game of Thrones.

In January 2013, Plepler was promoted to chairman and CEO of HBO, replacing Bill Nelson.

“In the past weeks, I’ve thought a lot about the incredible journey of this company in the nearly 28 years that I have been blessed to be here,” Plepler said in a memo to staff. “It’s a journey of great pride and accomplishment because so many of you, and many others before us, have made HBO a cultural and business phenomenon. Thanks to all of you, we are today churning on all cylinders both creatively and as a business. Thanks to all of you, I can move on to the next chapter of my life knowing that the best team in the industry remains here to carry on our continued progress and success. As I have said before, this is the team of teams.”

Levy, meanwhile, was appointed president of Turner in August 2013, and oversaw the company’s portfolio of domestic content, kids and young adult networks and businesses, including TBS, TNT, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Boomerang, truTV and Turner Classic Movies. The executive also held numerous other roles, including leading advertising sales strategy and operations, programming acquisitions and interactive television and technology business development for the domestic Turner businesses.

Before being elevated to president of Turner, Levy served as president of sales, distribution and sports.

Various media reports Wednesday (Feb. 27) speculated that WarnerMedia was in talks with former NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt to take the helm of its television operations, including HBO and Turner.

(With files from Jonathan Paul and Barry Walsh)

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.

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