By MARK R. MADLER Staff Reporter
Peter Roth, the long-time head of television production at Warner Bros. Entertainment in Burbank, signed a contract extension early this month that makes him the first-ever chairman of the Warner Bros. Television Group.
Roth has served as the chief content officer of the television group since May 2013. He will continue to lead and have creative responsibility for the studio’s television production activities, including domestic production of scripted, unscripted and alternative series for U.S. broadcast networks, cable and streaming services.
Warner Bros. Chief Executive Ann Sarnoff called Roth a legend and admitted being an admirer of his creative insight, deep relationships and passion for all the people behind and in front of the camera, at the networks, and across the studio.
“It’s fitting to recognize his many contributions to the company, and we’re grateful he will continue to lead our television production business as we expand our output to match the increased demand for programming by traditional and new outlets, including our own HBO Max,” Sarnoff said in a statement.
HBO Max is the new streaming service from Warner Bros. that debuts in May.
In his new role, Roth will continue to report to Sarnoff. He will also work closely with Jeffrey Schlesinger, president of Warner Bros. Worldwide Television Distribution, who also reports to Sarnoff.
Roth joined the company in March 1999 as president of Warner Bros. Television. He previously had worked at Fox Entertainment, Twentieth Television Corp., Stephen J. Cannell Productions and ABC Television Network, where he started his career in 1976.
At Warner Bros., Roth has overseen a strategic transformation of the studio’s television operations, increasing the company’s series production output for premium and basic cable channels, and expanding into producing series for the on-demand/streaming marketplace, as well as maintaining its longstanding leadership position in supplying series to the broadcast networks.
As of last month, the divisions of the Television Group were responsible for more than 115 series in the U.S. alone, including live-action scripted series, animation, and unscripted and alternative programs.
During his time as head of the television group, Roth had 32 scripted primetime series developed under his leadership that successfully reached the coveted 100-episode milestone. Among them are “Big Bang Theory,” “Two and a Half Men,” “The West Wing,” “Gilmore Girls,” “Shameless” and “Pretty Little Liars.”
Additionally, as a magnet for attracting the best in creative talent, Roth has been behind the signing of a number of landmark exclusive deals with such producers as J.J. Abrams and Katie McGrath’s Bad Robot Productions; Chuck Lorre; Greg Berlanti; Mindy Kaling; Bryan Cranston; and Robert Zemeckis.