Michael Wright is to step down from his position at Turner Broadcasting.
The exec, who is currently serving as President and Head of Programming for TNT, TBS and Turner Classic Movies, is to depart from Turner after serving in numerous executive positions at the broadcaster for the past 12 years.
Michael Wright is well liked in the industry and has a reputation for being warm with creatives. It is that reputation that allowed him, over the past decade, to lure top talent in order to establish TNT’s scripted brand with such hits as The Closer, Major Crimes, Rizzoli & Isles, Falling Skies and more recently The Last Ship.
After adding oversight of comedy network TBS in 2005 (and TCM in 2007), Wright was instrumental in luring Conan O’Brien away from NBC in 2010. That was a major coup at the time, when the industry largely expected the comedian and his new talk show to land at NBC’s broadcast rival Fox. The network has since developed numerous scripted comedies under Wright including Sullivan & Son and Ground Floor, as well as adopting broadcast shows Cougar Town and American Dad.
Michael Wright’s resignation comes mere months after his boss, Turner Entertainment Networks President Steve Koonin, departed the company. Wright, who is expected to remain in his position until a replacement is appointed, had been in the frame for Koonin’s job, however, Turner decided to look to outside candidates to fill Koonin’s position, leading to Wright’s decision to resign.
His exit comes after a strong summer for TNT, which successfully launched The Last Ship to strong ratings and has also seen success with freshman entries Murder In The First and Legends. The departure also comes as parent company Time Warner is looking to streamline operations at Turner Broadcasting by offering a buyout to more than 600 employees.