Abrams collaborator Bryan Burke , it was both a welcome and fortuitous fit. We were doing dozens of fittings a day, every day, like five days a week, sometimes seven. It was crazy. But I wanted to take the time and the care with each performer. It just meant longer hours and longer weeks.
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The first item on the agenda for programming chief Brett Weitz and a dozen other executives seated around a conference table in a sunlit room was celebrating the hot streak of seven consecutive scripted series launches that had gone the distance to season two and beyond.
Now Reilly is ready to take his biggest swing to date starting Jan. At the off-site, Reilly pointed to the Hollywood offices of a rival cable-programming powerhouse just down the street as a cautionary example of what happens when content companies fail to aggressively stay in the hunt for hits. The landscape for Turner and its parent company, Time Warner, has shifted dramatically since Reilly signed on in January And Turner is at the center of that brawl.
But the roller-coaster environment of the past year has only reinforced his conviction about what TNT and TBS need to do to survive. The architect of the rebuilding effort at TNT and TBS has felt the pressure of a ticking clock since the day he walked through the door.
He led the charge for Turner to partner with agency IMG in the launch of the video-game competition venture ELeague — contests that are now carried on TBS and Twitch — and he restarted the comedy-focused digital content venture Super Deluxe.
We were culturally out of step. Primetime viewership of both networks has dropped over the past few years amid the general decline in linear TV-watching. Reilly was prepared to provide a budget that was enormous by TNT standards. Fukunaga remains an exec producer on the series. The series was shot last year, with Budapest standing in for New York. Turner had the good fortune to complete its most important carriage agreements between and , just before the worm began to turn on Wall Street on the basic cable business.
Thanks to its long-term NBA and NCAA rights deals, Turner locked in top-market subscriber fees for its channels in pacts that typically run five to six years. His last years at the network were bumpy as Fox, like other broadcasters, began to grapple with the harsh reality that it was no longer the center of the television business. So is a Bruce Springsteen concert poster from The plan was splashier in its announcement than its execution, in part because Reilly resigned his Fox post barely six months later.
Amid the regime change at Turner in , which saw big management shakeups across the company, Reilly found a welcome outlet for his interest in systems management. I want to be part of the dialogue of rewiring the system. It was a coup for Reilly because Aubrey had long been in demand for high-level network jobs.
Aubrey made the move into the executive ranks because of her respect for Reilly and because she was intrigued by the duality of the challenge: Develop distinctive shows that turn TNT into a trademark of quality. The exec is quick to voice the exasperation of many programmers that the old-guard MVPDs have not adapted quickly enough to changing viewing habits in an increasingly on-demand world.
There have been sweeping changes in programming and marketing. There has been a massive amount of change across every aspect of the business. They just want to compete.
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