Josh Sapan, a cable pioneer who headed AMC Networks and its predecessors in the Dolan cable dynasty for more than 25 years, is moving to the Vice Chairman role at AMC Networks. Former Showtime Chief Matt Blank will take over on an interim basis, in a one-year appointment designed to maintain stability during a search for a permanent CEO. Sapan will become executive vice chair of the company as of 8th September. AMC Networks is undergoing a significant change of the guard, as CEO Josh Sapan has announced he will step down after a 26-year run in the corner office.
“Over his long career, Josh’s leadership ensured AMC Networks became a force in entertainment, with far-reaching influence throughout the industry, and home to some of the most successful and innovative shows in the history of television,” Chairman of the company, James Dolan.
The departure of Sapan was anticipated in the two-year contract he signed in December 2020 that gave him the option to shift from president and CEO to the Vice Chairman role in 2022. Over his 34 years with Cablevision and Dolan-owned entities, Dolan has led the expansion of the cable channel group that now includes AMC, SundanceTV, BBC America, IFC and WeTV channels, and the IFC Films movie unit. Originally joining Rainbow Media in 1987 as President and CEO in 1995, he also contributed to a collection of international channels and is credited in great part for the company's expansion. “We are grateful for his vision, creativity, and management expertise and look forward to his continued contributions as executive Vice Chairman,” Dolan said.
After going public in 2011, the company has pushed out successful significant cable TV shows like "The Walking Dead," "Mad Men," and "Breaking Bad." As the cable programming business has become increasingly challenging in recent years, Sapan has presided over a shift to streaming with cord-cutting accelerating. With niche services like Sundance Now, Acorn TV, and Shudder, the company expects to have 20 million to 25 million subscribers by 2025, and revenue from those operations will exceed those in the traditional linear business.
With Sapan previously shifting the company's primary focus to streaming, it is projected that in 2023 and 2024, it said, AMC Networks has agreed to acquire “at least three films” submitted to them by Sapan and will have exclusive North American rights, including for streaming. The price of each acquisition is capped at $900,000.
Over his long career, Josh’s leadership ensured AMC Networks became a force in entertainment, with far-reaching influence throughout the industry, and home to some of the most successful and innovative shows in the history of television.” James Dolan Chairman of the company, AMC Networks